Aquatic center proponents form non-profit, hire consultant, plan “Megacility”

11 May

Has CARD dropped plans to put a bond on the November ballot to pay for a new aquatic center?

Monday I was forwarded an invitation to a presentation at CARD’s new headquarters, Lakeside Pavilion.

You’ve been invited to participate in an event on May 10th which could be a milestone for Chico, involving large scale recreational facilities as a major community amenity and economic driver.   

 

It’s far from a new topic.  The adequacy of Chico’s facilities, the strain and economic drain travelling someplace else for events and tournaments, limited programing, limited funding, limited facilities and limited opportunities for people of all ages, etc.  All far below what could be accomplished if local talent, leadership and resources were tapped and channeled to accomplish what has been accomplished in other communities, many of which lack the talent, leadership and resources which already exist in Chico.

 

What is new is that out of this long running and seemingly endless conversation, a  catalyst non-profit has been formed to move the ball downfield.   Doing that requires community involvement and support.  Partnership and collaboration is essential!!!

 
DATE: Tuesday, May 10th
TIME: 6:30 PM

LOCATION: Lakeside Pavilion.  2565 California Park Dr, Chico, CA 95928

 

It’ll be an informative and enjoyable event on the Lake in Cal Park.  

 

Looking forward to seeing you there,

Brad Geise
EVERYBODY, Healthy Body
Collaboration and Partnerships for Athletics Facilities and Programming

530-715-0035 

Of course this invitation was not intended for me, but addressed to a local elected official who forwarded it along to me, knowing I’ve been trying to follow the aquatic center conversation.  This invitation confirms what I’ve suspected – as the public, and even the local daily newspaper, has failed to support CARD’s bids for public funding for this venture, the tiny but well-heeled group of aquatic center supporters has turned to a consultant, and formed a “non-profit” group. Ostensibly they are looking for private funding, but a quick look at their website shows a pattern of private ventures that quickly turn to the public for major funding. 

Under “FAQ’s” you will find this link:

http://sportsplanningguide.com/rise-of-the-megacilities

Here’s the bait …

Spooky Nook Sports was funded privately by its owner, Sam Beiler, for approximately $11.25 million. After traveling for his daughter’s various sports tournaments across the country, the family decided to create an indoor facility that offers quality customer service, ideal playing and spectator conditions and additional activities during downtime.

the usual sales pitch about how these facilities are a benefit to the entire community  … 

There’s no denying the impressive impact of sports tourism these days; destinations are taking their sports inventories to the next level. These herculean sports venues, or what we like to call megacilities, have generated an estimated combined economic impact of more than $200 million to date. They open their doors to competitions of all calibers where players, coaches and spectators alike will have to pick up their jaws from the state-of-the-art floors and fields.

 and here’s the switch – from the 2015 Pennsylvania Urban Land Institute report …

Although by all accounts the Nook has been deemed a success, that success has not been quantified in terms of fiscal or economic impact. 

The report goes on to detail the major traffic problems brought about during tournaments at this facility in Pennsylvania, finally recommending “The Nook” apply for public road funds to fix their inadequate private parking lot. The report describes the development of the site as “haphazard,” and recommends that the governing authorities take a harder look at the actual benefits of this development and ways to curb the problems it is causing.

Read on about a facility in Georgia – 

LakePoint Sporting Community was privately funded until it received a $32-million bond to support the next development phase: the indoor facility.

According to the Rome News-Tribune, “Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said the Bartow County Development Authority issued $37 million in bonds to finance construction of the pavilion.”

According to wikipedia, Bartow County is, well, kind of poor.   The median income is only about $44,000 a year – much like Butte County. How in the hell will they pay those bonds? 

Read on about one facility after another in one state after another – entirely funded with taxpayer money.  Revenue bonds, city self-financing and hotel occupancy taxes, just to name a few sources of revenue that have been tapped to pay for facilities that have so far failed to prove any sustainable economic benefit for the surrounding area. They all create traffic problems that are addressed with more public money.

I expect the aquatic center group to follow the same tack.  They will try to impress us with their ability to attract “stakeholders,” but in the end they will try to get into our purses with this thing.

Meanwhile, CARD must also find some way to fund itself. Now they’ve privatized the backside of the CARD center and will charge money for weddings and other events. This is a conflict of their mission.  CARD was formed to facilitate recreational opportunities for taxpayers, not to compete with private enterprise to pay their own salaries, pensions and benefits. But, I will be keeping my ear to the railroad tracks, waiting for CARD to roll out another tax campaign of some sort. 

So, the aquatic center is not off the table, it’s turned into a “Megacility”.  A consultant and a group of local proponents has formed a covert group aimed at using private money to attract public money, just like a lot of other scams. It’s up to us to remain vigilant against this kind of misappropriation of public money.

The system is only as good as the taxpayers who support it.

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7 Responses to “Aquatic center proponents form non-profit, hire consultant, plan “Megacility””

  1. bob May 11, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    You’ve been invited to participate in an event on May 10th which could be a milestone for Chico…

    milestone

    They misspelled millstone. HTH.

  2. bob May 11, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    Completely absurd and ridiculous.

    These idiots can’t even maintain the facilities they already have and their unfunded liabilities are out of control.

    And now they are proposing a megacrapolis this community can never afford.

    People should be outraged.

    • Juanita Sumner May 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

      I know there are people who are pissed about the closure of the pools, but they aren’t vocalizing.

  3. bob May 11, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    It’ll be an informative and enjoyable event on the Lake in Cal Park.

    Does card own facilities out there? If not do they rent them? That’s pricey real estate out there.

    • Juanita Sumner May 11, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

      The paid an outrageous price for Lakeside Pavilion – the figures are in the budget at their website, take an aspirin first. They struggle to make the interest payments every year.

      And, it’s full of dry rot, and (oh surprise!) ADA – NON-compliant. The entire parking lot is a trip hazard, roots coming up through the pavement.

      I’ll bet you’re thinking the same thing – if anybody ran their private business this way, they’d go under.

      CARD should be abolished. Here we have a group who is forming a non-profit to build their own recreation facility. What the hell do we need with CARD?

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  1. Wearing the horns | worldofjuanita - May 13, 2016

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