Campaign signs support sales tax hike for sports complex

Special to The Pee Dee Post

* Related coverage: Voters to weigh in on sales tax hike initiative

ROCKINGHAM — Signs began popping up around Richmond County over the weekend, and soon they will be joined by billboards and direct mail:

“Vote Yes for Parks and Rec,” and “Vote Yes for Jobs and Growth.”

Kevin Spradlin | The Committee to Promote Growth and Economic Development began placing campaign signs in yards of supporters for a new sports complex.

Kevin Spradlin |
The Committee to Promote Growth and Economic Development began placing campaign signs in yards of supporters for a new sports complex.

On Nov. 4, voters in Richmond County will have the opportunity to approve a quarter-percent increase in local sales tax, with the extra money helping fund a new, state-of-the-art complex for baseball, softball and soccer, while also providing a walking trail, disc golf course, dog park and playground area.

The increase in sales tax essentially means for every $1,000 spent in the county, there will be an extra $2.50 available for the project. It is expected to cost about $10-12 million and will be built by the city of Rockingham off Old Aberdeen Road, near the Roberdel community.

And since a sales tax increase will help fund it, the cost will be shared by visitors in the community, who might only be passing through for the day.

The Committee to Promote Growth and Economic Development, with a membership of about 15 parents who support this project, is running the campaign, which already has received the endorsements of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce and the Richmond County Board of Realtors. Back in July, the Richmond County Commissioners voted to put this referendum on the November ballot.

Committee members include Keith Parsons, Vagas Jackson, Kristie Long, Michelle Parrish, Alan Anderson, Charles Hudson, Danny Lampley, Earl Nicholson, Eddie Sampson, Eric Thompson, Jackie Webb, Jamie Lambeth, Jennifer Wrenn, Matthew Liles and Mica Way.

The new facility will be built on land already owned by the City of Rockingham, so every dollar committed from this measure will go toward construction. The site is ready to go, and after approval of the referendum, construction likely will begin early in 2016 and should take about 14-16 months.

Once completed, Richmond County will have a showplace capable of hosting regional, statewide and national tournaments for multiple sports, which will bring hundreds of people into the area for several consecutive days. Current residents should enjoy the new park, as well, taking advantage of another addition to the quality of life in Richmond County.

The city will use this complex in addition to its existing fields for the Parks and Recreation department, which serves participants from the entire county; about 60 percent of those who sign up are from outside the city limits.

Yard signs are available for everyone wishing to show their support of the referendum. Please contact Parsons at 910-995-1670 for more information.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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  • Allen

    Just curious? I’m for this or anything that promotes parks and rec, but this seems like a travel ball tax. Not saying I’m against it by any means, but this is what it is right?

  • Jamie

    I see this first and foremost as a major asset to the residents of RCO with the added benefit of possibly hosting different sporting events. Hosting tournaments would bring in some much needed revenue to our county. Money will be spent at our restaurants, gas stations, hotels, etc… This project will also give us the chance to host recreational youth softball all star events as well as recreational baseball all star tournaments. With a facility like this we could host the state tournament and maybe even the world series for youth softball. On the baseball side, we could be in the running to host regional and super regional tournaments. The parking and facilities would be a big improvement from what we have to offer now. Anyone who has attended a game at Bynum knows how difficult it is to not only park, but how hard it is to get in and out of the park safely. As the sport of soccer continues to grow, there is a huge potential in hosting those tournaments as well. This facility will also improve the quality of life here in RCO and make our county more attractive to potential industries. One of the first questions major industries who are considering locating to RCO have is, what type of recreational facility are available for our employees and their families? This just seems like a great opportunity for our county at a very low cost to our residents. By low cost I mean that for every $1000 dollars you spend in RCO, it would only cost you $2.50.

  • Eric

    Anything that positively impacts our county cannot be a bad thing in my eyes. It’s been a very long time since we, as a community, have had something of this magnitude to improve not only our quality of life, but our children’s. It wasn’t so long ago that the city offered a men’s flag football league. Dues to limited resources, the field at Browder has to be converted immediately after the soccer season to softball fields. To echo what Jamie said, Bynum can barely accommodate the baseball program now in terms of parking and players. I have coached many different sports for the city, and I know first had the struggle of simply finding somewhere to practice. We all scramble and use school fields (when we can) or rely on private facilities. Just having an increase in the number of fields would benefit our youth and the recreation programs tremendously.

    From an economic standpoint, having the new facility of this size would help bring others into our county for games and tournaments. Those people will spend money in our restaurants, shop at our stores, and stay in our motels. Spending money in our county means a larger tax base for revenue. More tax revenue means more money for later projects. Second, the new facility has to increase the number of paid positions within the Parks and Recreation. They will have to staff accordingly to manage the facilities and increase maintenance/grounds personnel which will add employment opportunities and provide jobs.

    Keep in mind, the proposal is a .25% sales tax increase. The proposal does not affect property tax. The funds associated with this project will be generated through spending in our county, by our residences and visitors. The bottom line is that everything has a cost and unless we are all ready to participate in these cost, improvements (such as this) will be difficult to come by.

  • Lynne Stephens

    No more taxes. Period.

  • Christy

    $2.50 on every $1,000 seems extremely low considering the revenue this can bring into Richmond county. What a great gift for our children and their children and their children… Not only for the awesome complex for recreational use but for the economic boost it can bring to our county as well. I vote YES!!!

  • Time4Change

    Improvements for our children is great, but everyone is caught up in the feel good of the moment. What is missing are the details. Exactly how many jobs are they going to add? Exactly what is the budget? Exactly what is planning to be built when? There are a lot of other quality of life needs that exist here. Everyone seems to think thismtax revenue will be available for other things, but no one in charge has actually made that statement officially. It will take over 20 years to pay this off at this rate of revenue. This is a county wide tax but a city facility. If the county is paying for it, then the county should own it and run it. Time for a county wide athletic department and this money should go to providing facilities all across the county. I disagree that the first thing prospective industries want to know is what type of recreation facilities does your area have. It is more like what type of educated workforce can you provide and how do your schools rank in core subject testing and passage. This shows the future of the county…and I challenge you to go look. It is not a pretty sight. I agree that this is a need, but there are many others as well. Ask hard questions and demand detailed answers.

  • Virginia Tadrzynski

    From what I’ve been reading in this paper, there aren’t any places to SPEND $1 in RC. Everyone goes to Aberdeen, Southern Pines or to SC to spend their money. The county needs businesses not playgrounds. They HAD a national sport venue and it’s up on the auction block due to foreclosure…… this just ‘wishful thinking’ to think national sporting teams will be lining up to go to Rockingham? I don’t think so.

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