As he prepares to begin serving a one-year term as Lawrence mayor, Bob Schumm provided more details about possible public-private partnership to build a youth fieldhouse/recreation center at corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway. Here’s a look at some details currently being discussed:
• About $13 million is the current estimate for how much money the city will put into this project, Schumm said. How much money developers, which include Steve and Duane Schwada and members of the Gene Fritzel Construction company, will put into the project is less clear. The $13 million is about how much the city thinks it can pay without raising taxes. City leaders are hoping to use money that will become available after the debt for several sales tax-financed projects, such as the indoor pool and the community health building, are retired in the near future.
• A development group, probably led by Thomas Fritzel, would own the fieldhouse/recreation center, under one proposal currently being considered. The private group would take care of the maintenance, security, utilities and other such functions that come with owning a building. The city would pay a lease payment, which is included in the $13 million, to the private group, which would entitle the city to use the facility for parks and recreation classes, leagues and other functions. City employees of the Parks and Recreation Department likely would staff the facility.
• After 20 years of lease payments, the city would own the building, Schumm said. The city, however, would own the ground that the building sits on even during the first 20 years of the lease.
• Schumm hopes to have the building up and going by early 2013.
• Commissioners are being told that many of these youth sporting tournaments bring 2.5 visitors for every one event participant. Many of the tournaments have 50 to 60 teams.
“With those numbers it becomes pretty easy to see how it can be a huge economic development driver for the community,” Schumm said.