Field of dreams

Bringing top-notch sports complex to Erie County still on the table.
Andy Ouriel
Jan 1, 2014
A Lake Erie Shores & Islands study about a proposed sports complex conducted in 2012 is still being used to spur negotiations to bring a world-class facility in Erie County.

Talks have been ongoing with two to three developers about undeveloped property that sits close to Sam’s Club and Home Depot, Erie County Commissioner Pat Shenigo confirmed.

One developer has been consistently in talks for a year, he said. Shenigo declined to name any of the potential developers who are in talks, fearing it would negatively impact any possible deal. Confidentiality agreements have been signed, he said.

Developers expressing interest over the years have been from Florida, Cleveland and Columbus, he said. “Financing is tough to put together,” Shenigo said, talking in general about projects. No one has yet to put forward a package to fund the sports facility deal, he said.

The 2012 study concluded an indoor sports complex could reap a $54 million windfall each year for the local economy.

The area was targeted as a good location for a sports facility by the 2012 study because it sits on the highly travelled U.S. 250 and because of its proximity to area hotels.

The study said the area’s tourism industry could support the sports complex enough to fill 75,000 hotel rooms each year and attract some 300,000 new visitors in the off-season.

Shenigo said he supports the study’s assessment that a sports facility would fit into the area very well.

“I believe so” Shenigo said.

If any talks were to move forward, it would make a good project for the Erie County Port Authority, said Bill Monaghan, Erie County Commissioner.

“It would make sense for them to go through the Erie County Port Authority,” Monaghan said. “it would save them on taxes that they would have to pay for building costs”

The American Legends Park, a league baseball facility proposed to be developed across U.S. 250 from Kalahari Resorts by John Russell has yet to happen, seemingly due to funding that never materialized.

Comments

observer1

Traffic flow would have to be evaluated. Access to Sam's Club during the holidays was a nightmare.

The Bizness

I hope a private developer does this. It would be another great way to attract more people to our area.

Fireside

Pat, Call Showboat !

Contango

Re: "No one has yet to put forward a package to fund the sports facility deal,"

As I recall from a previous article, most of the return on investment (ROI) numbers appeared to be pure fantasy.

In reality, the character Kevin Costner played in "Field of Dreams" besides being schizophrenic woulda went bankrupt.

The Bizness

Hey, if someone wants to put up their own money to fund this then I wish them the best.

Contango

Re: "put up their own money to fund this,"

I don't totally disagree.

However, there was discussion of floating a local public bond issue.

Detroit and other bankruptcies have currently made munis somewhat toxic.

2013 was a tough yr. for 'em.

Gardenman

They have tried to build on this idea for years. Everything seems to fall threw and in the end nothing ever comes of it. Is there not some hoped anticipated project over on Route 6 where Steuk's use to be ? There has been a sign and trailer there for months and months of some big sports complex that again never materializes.

I can remember some 11+ years ago they were going to build a new golf course out on Mason Road west of Route 250 and that feel thru. SR went out and interviewed the farmer who land it was to be and a couple investors and again that never materialized.

Then there was front page news in the SR a few years ago of a new golf course that was going to be built in Vermilion just north of Route 2 and along Baunmhart Road and that feel thru.

Lots of talk, announcements in SR but in the end they all never get off the ground !!!

donutshopguy

Biz,

I agree. If someone wants to put up private money have at it. But, alas most ventures like this are based on some type of government subsidy or they move to a community that will provide that incentive.

The Bizness

I like the idea of temporary tax breaks for projects like these. They still get taxed but start out with a small tax and build to full tax over the course of a number of years.

This would be a big project, and with the amount of land needed tax breaks for the initial start up would probably be necessary.

Contango

Re: "I like the idea of temporary tax breaks for projects like these."

'Somebody' has to make up the difference, i.e. other taxpayers.

Smacks of corporatism, i.e. govt. picking winners and losers. It leads to malinvestment and cronyism.

How's Cincinnati doin' with their two taxpayer financed stadiums?

Google: "Reds' and Bengals' Stadiums More Costly for Taxpayers"