Report: Sports complex could inject $52 million into local economy

Erie County's business base should score huge if local officials pursue building a multi-purpose sports complex.
Andy Ouriel
May 16, 2012


Erie County’s business base should score huge if local officials pursue building a multi-purpose sports complex.

A proposed $12 million commercialized indoor-sports center could volley $52 million annually into area hotels, restaurants and shops, according to a $40,000 study orchestrated by Lake Erie Shores & Islands representatives.

“We are very fortunate to have more than 5,600 hotel rooms within our county, some of which sit empty for the most of the winter,” Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo said, who’s spearheading the sports complex discussions.

For years, local business leaders and travel officials have struggled to find ways to occupy vacant hotel and motel rooms during cold periods — or when Cedar Point is closed.

“Evidence suggests that an indoor sports complex could produce substantial amounts of additional room nights in the offseason (from) October to April,” according to the study the Register obtained through a public records request.

“Previous studies have also found the Sandusky area is in need of an indoor complex for recreation and competition.”

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Register.

Multi-purpose sports complex by the numbers:
$52 million: annual income injected into Erie County by visitors spending money and adding to the county’s tax base.
$12 million: Initial expense to construct building
$2.1 million: average annual income generated from the complex, including space rental and concession fees, in the beginning stages.
$1.75 million: average annual expenses coming from the complex, including utilities and administrative cost, in the beginning stages.
$349,000: average profit, in the beginning stages.
300,000: people visiting the area each year for the primary purpose of participating somehow in the facility.
Source: Erie County financial analysis for multi-purpose sports complex.



If this sports complex is such a great thing why doesn't private industry build the place?

If this sports complex is such a great thing why don't the hotels and restaurants put up the funding to build the place? 

It being built to make them money.


I agree with Donutshopguy. If Sandusky wanted to make things better and get more people to town, they need to give any extra money to the Police department to make the town safer. I know a lot of people who won't even venture to the area after dark. We need to start by cleaning Sandusky up and then moving on to other things.


Donutshop guy has a very good point.  I often wondered the same thing when Sandusky tried to do this with tax dollars and staff resources.  Developers often have an idea but no money so they tend to squeeze the taxpayer into picking up the tab..  It is much easier to drop it in the lap of the taxpayer to pay up so we can line the pockets of the business owners;  I think not.  I personally don't care what they do with this project as long as the taxpayer doesn't have to foot the bill and use staff time on these projects that need taxpayer support..  The county needs a sift kick in the rear end if they even entertain thoughts of the tax dollars picking up this project.  The county does not belong in the entertainment business.  Who will maintain and foot the bill on essentials for this project?  The county needs to stay out of it completely and let the business people build it and run it.  The county can't even get the County nursing home out of the red so what makes them think they can run a sports complex.  Bed tax is being abused and should not be wasted on entertainment complex..

dig this

    Where is the airstrip? It's election time, Hammond will know the real numbers!

The Bizness

 Who's to say that private industry wont step in and be a major funder for the project just to be have their name on the building such as "The Cedar Point Recreation Facility" or even split it up and have "The Great Wolf Lodge Basketball Courts" and "The Firelands Regional Medical Center Fields" 

yea right

the air strip is being held up by that dollar 2.98 airport in Huron co.  run by drug dealers and porn makers..

as far as the money well dounut guy is right ..let S n S and the Ruta's and others help is THEIR hotels after all



   Here we go again, government wanting to spend tax payers money on BIG Ideas, so they can spend more foolishly. Maybe this government CAN'T HEAR, we are out of money, we're taxed to death, GET it from the RICH man, there NOT hardly paying TAXES, they are the JOB Creators, So WHERE are these JOBS. $30 per hour. Any new jobs in Perkins? Sandusky, Erie County? give me a break


Must be a Republican Conservative plan.  I don't see a Taxpayer rant!

The Bizness

 Hey Man4451


....This would create jobs and like I said in my previous post it could be funded from private companies.


6079 Smith W

"If you build it they will come," is a great line from a fantasy movie, but in real life with real tax dollars they're money pits and boondoggles.

The ruling class sold this nonsense to the taxpayers of Cincinnati and they had to sell a hospital to help pay for it for one yr.

Read further:

Don't let the Erie Co. political class sell taxpayers the same garbage - it's a lie.


The Bizness

 Smith the difference is that a football stadium brings in almost no revenue for 3/4 of the year.  

I am not saying we should fund the project but a stadium and sports complex are two completely different things.


Before this stream goes too far off topic, if you read the study, this will cost the local tax payers NOTHING.  It will be paid by the tourists in an increase in the bed tax.  As far as police, roads, and fire, any increase in volume of those services would be a result of the project working (more guests in the area in the off-season).  The increase demand of police, fire, and road services would be paid for by the increase in sales tax (retail, gas, food, hotel) AND the increase in the local municipalities’ share of the bed tax (3% per municipality).  This project is a win for local business and local taxpayers.

The Bizness

 Look at MP actually reading the study ha something I should have done myself. Thank you MP!

Where is Origen at on this? He thinks pretty objectionally as well.

6079 Smith W

@ The Bizness:

That was merely an example of the politcs of coercion. Tell the citizens of Cincinnati how different  it is.

Ever heard of the Sears Centre Arena? I know it well.

"Recently, the Village of Hoffman Estates took over ownership of the arena after Ryan Companies Inc. walked away from the arena due to the arena's lack of success."

Same garbage.


@ MP:

When politicians attempt to sell you something for nothing; grab your wallet and run.

And if the bed tax doesn't take in enough revenue, who makes up the difference?

I skimmed the financial analysis. A 17% ROR? They're pulling numbers out of their *ss.

If that were true, there would be private investors lining up. Where are they????




"$349,000: average profit, in the beginning stages" It will be hard to find investors to line up when it isnt a given in this economy that people will travel (In the off season no less) To a sports complex. Its also very disturbing right under that there is a disclaimer about the management team, So who knows, I think Sandusky needs to get its finances in order before starting new projects as to be prepared for if things go bad (No telling these days) So we do not get stuck with another surfs up.

The Bizness


I don't know if you realize how big the traveling sports team industry is for youth. There are massive Volleyball, Basketball, indoor soccer, and other tournaments year round that attract massive amounts of people.  This area desperately needs another draw for the winter time.  

My whole point is that this idea should not just be dismissed as wastefull spending (as some on here think), because it could lead to positive growth.

I would much rather have a new major manufacturing company move into town first however....




"because it could lead to positive growth"

Positive growth for who? 

Have you ever seen a government run program make money?



Im not out of hand dismissing it at all, Just seems alot of variables have to come into play and 350,000 dollars a year is not going to gather very many investors. It would be great to have a new source of revenue for sandusky, My reservations are because of the economy in general (The unemployment and uncertainty of the future) Keeps people closer to home. Throwing out ideas that as the report said would not be dependent on the local population for fiscal responsibility is a great thing i think, How else would we be able to better our community? The trick of it is keeping the local community safe from being stuck on the hook for payment while most of our big paying jobs have hit the road. Sandusky is hurting for money, The more people we could attract to our area the better, But again those who live here at the moment are in no shape to take the brunt of the burden of debt this will create in the starting years. If it is Privately funded awesome, If not we unfortunatly cannot afford it. (Companys have left or are in the process of looking for greener pastures and the folks left here are already in the hole).


If it livens up during the off season the local businesses would see more of a profit hence helping out the locals find jobs.


Personally, I don't like MP's comment about the police, emergency, etc part will be paid for by INCREASED taxes on the retail, gas, etc. If that's not the taxpayer paying extra taxes for something they don't use, what is?

6079 Smith W

The Bizness writes:

"There are massive Volleyball, Basketball, indoor soccer, and other tournaments year round that attract massive amounts of people."

Your comment, like the financial analysis reads like "happy hope."

IMO, the state needs to expand gaming and give Erie Co. one of the licenses.

I'm not a big fan of gaming, but what else would attract private investors instead of raising taxes to build this boondoggle that might or might not be a draw?

Also, privatize liquor sales in OH!!!!! Use the added revenue to reduce or totally eliminate the personal and business state income tax.



6079 Smith W

The area goes through these BS ideas every so often.

I was reminded of a stategic economic plan paid for a number of yrs. ago. I can't find it, but I could find the story.

It's from 2007:

I wonder on what shelf this study is collecting dust?

 When the goin' gets tough, the "tough" do a study. The high paid bureaucrats want you to think that they're actually working.



 And lemme'll be built 5 miles OUT of town by the Kalahari & not downtown.

The Bizness


I know you aren't dismissing it.  My whole point is that you can do what many private high schools and many colleges do and charge for naming rights which some times can cover the entire cost of construction.  

As for running it, leave that to a private company as well.



Actually yes I have, there are many government agencies around the country that run in the black.  



Would you please list those agencies that run in the black.

I am very interesed in that information.


will this be another surf's up aquatic center fiasco? $52 million annual income injected into erie county by visitors spending?  who can see into the future? with great wolf lodge and kalihari doing business off season, who would want to visit this sports center? "A recently released study, approved by Lake Erie Shores & Islands representatives, concluded an indoor sports complex could usher $54 million each year into the local economy."  $54 million dropped down to $52 million. how about all of those motels, restautants and any business that will benefit from this $52 million become investors and pay for the sports complex instead of the taxpayers. do you have any idea how many sports complexes there are in ohio and other states? there lots of competition out there already. taxpayers are already taxed out. allow private investors to fund this sports complex. i doubt that private investors will show you the money if taxpayers will be the ones to gamble on this complex.

6079 Smith W

The Bizness writes:

"There are many government agencies around the country that run in the black."

"In the black" would imply profit and loss.

Govt. can only take assets from its citizens and redistribute it.

One person's tax is another person's subsidy.

If a 17% ROR was realistic and feasible, IMO the time spent searching for private investors would be short. 

H*ll, I might even kick in a few bucks.



Another pie in the sky.  Hasn't anyone told the county we are in a recession and have been for years now.  First thing that gets cut from a family budget is recreation.  When you see the public private wording, it means involving tax dollars.   


 Don't you think Kalahari has not run a cost analysis on building a sports complex to fill their hotel rooms ?

They are in business to make money. If it would make money they have the finances to construct the facilities. But, they don't. Wonder why?

This concept is a white albatross waiting for a politician trying to make a name for himself .  Then sticking the taxpayers for decades with the debt.

6079 Smith W

@ donutshopguy:

Taxpayers are already helping to support Kalahari:

"Kalahari Development LLC Wins $123.38 Million Federal Contract   Nov 25 10

Kalahari Development LLC, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., won a $123,378,049 federal contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Fort McCoy, Wis., for the rental of lodging/conference space."