County sales tax would pay for Rockingham sports complex

Only referendum on November ballot intended for recreation

By Dan Way
Carolina Journal

RALEIGH — Residents in Richmond County are divided on whether to pass a Nov. 4 ballot referendum raising the county’s sales tax rate by 0.25 cents to build a multi-use recreation complex for the city of Rockingham on 118 acres.

Increasing the tax from 6.75 percent to 7 percent is expected to raise between $600,000 and $700,000 annually to apply toward the initial phase of the sportsplex, which is expected to cost between $10 million and $12 million. No cost has been given for the other six phases.

Dan Way, associate editor Carolina Journal

Dan Way, associate editor
Carolina Journal

City and county officials see the tax-funded sportsplex as an economic development project that would boost the county’s quality of life. Hosting large-scale athletic tournaments also is expected to capture new sales tax revenues from tourists.

“Having the entire county fund a project that is spearheaded by the city is not a good use of the sales tax revenue,” said Sarah Curry, director of fiscal policy studies at the John Locke Foundation.

“If the city needs more funding for economic development, there are multiple other sources of revenue for such projects, including occupancy taxes, special service districts, state and/or federal grants, revolving loans, etc.,” Curry said.

County governments have an obligation to taxpayers to supply necessary government functions to their citizens, including schools, roads, jails, courts, police and fire, and social service programs, Curry said.

“An expansion of a parks and recreation department through a new multipurpose park does not seem to be a basic function of local government,” Curry said.

Counties have had the option of raising their sales tax by a quarter cent for educational purposes or economic development since 2007. Since then, voters rejected them in 66 counties and approved them in 27.

In November, voters in six counties will decide by referendum whether to raise their sales tax rates. Bladen, Guilford, Mecklenburg, and Rockingham counties would use proceeds for educational purposes. Carteret County would devote its extra tax to dredging. Richmond is the only county seeking a recreational use.

Though no public opinion polls have been taken to gauge voters’ leanings on the Richmond County tax, longtime journalist Kevin Spradlin said the local interest should “help increase what has been historically low voter turnout for Richmond County,” Spradlin said.

“Richmond County residents are devoted and dedicated sports fans, and they vote,” said Spradlin, who owns the Rockingham-based online publication Pee Dee Post. “People who don’t support it are just as passionate.”

Based on feedback in the comment section of his web-based stories about the proposed park and on the Pee Dee Post Facebook page, Spradlin said sales tax opponents either don’t want taxes raised for any reason, or don’t want to pay a county tax to fund a project in a city where they don’t live or vote.

“We have all heard this ‘spin’ before … the millions of economic impact of NASCAR,” one of his readers wrote. “It’s all speculation without real figures to back it up.”

“What about other spending needs the county has, such as its own infrastructure, sewer and/or water projects, education, etc.,” another reader posted.

County Manager Rick Sago said the proposed sales tax is not targeted for education because Richmond County Schools officials have not approached the county “in any way, shape, or form.”

But Superintendent Cindy Goodman said she was not involved in the sales tax debate because she began her current job in August, and she may seek some of the revenue.

“Our funding has been flat for the last few years. … I’m hoping that maybe we can get a bump this year depending on how this sales tax thing goes,” Goodman said. “We don’t want to be overly demanding” given the county’s financial picture, she said, “and yet it is our job to look after our children and try to provide the best education possible.”

The wording of the referendum “doesn’t preclude it from ever being used for education,” Sago said.

Just because the referendum cites the Rockingham facility as an intended use of the tax hike proceeds “doesn’t mean somebody else can’t come to us in the future,” Sago said.

The recreation complex would feature baseball, softball, football, and soccer fields, tennis courts, a disc golf course, a splash park, a carousel, a miniature train, and a dog park. It jumped to the front of the funding list because $1 million already has been spent preparing it, Sago said.

The county commissioners won’t decide whether to fund all or part of the sports complex until a referendum passes, Sago said. It’s still not clear whether the city or county would assume the construction loan.

“Unless we get the sufficient commitment from the county to handle the debt service, we won’t build the facility,” said Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump. He said the city received a $750,000 grant from the Cole Foundation to buy the land and has spent $889,000 prepping the site.

Sago and Crump defend using sales tax money for a recreation complex because the city and county have met the most pressing infrastructure needs under traditional economic development models.

The jurisdictions have completed school building renovations, water treatment facilities, highway development, upgrades to the Rockingham police station and city hall, and regional sewer plant, they said. Work with Duke Energy on a wastewater project and cooperation with state officials on Interstate 73 are continuing, they added.

Rockingham receives half of a 6 percent occupancy tax the county imposes on hotel and motel visits, a little more than $230,000 annually, but that money is earmarked for a tourist signage program and other uses, Crump said.

Crump and Sago say the interest in a large-scale recreation facility to serve Rockingham’s parks and recreation participant base, which is 60 percent county residents, has been raised by citizens and in local plans.

They say the complex would attract tourists to large events such as Dixie Youth and Pony League baseball tournaments, leagues with which the city has a lengthy history. Visitors will spend money at hotels, restaurants, shops, gas stations, and other venues. It also would enhance the quality of life for local residents, and potentially attract new businesses and other amenities.

But Jesse Hathaway, research fellow at the free-market Heartland Institute, said using sales tax revenue to build giant sports complexes is a poor policy decision. Abundant academic studies have concluded “almost universally this does not pay off in the way that supporters say it would.”

As an example, he said, studies have shown that Super Bowls generally have not generated promised tax returns on investments to lure them to a city.

“Obviously, the Super Bowl is at a higher level, orders of magnitude larger, but … if you don’t see the effects on the scale of a Super Bowl why would you expect to see these effects at a more micro-scale?” Hathaway said.

If elected officials were tasked with putting their own money behind such projects, “I would venture to say they would not invest in such a facility,” Hathaway said. “But since it’s tax money, it’s a big sloshing pool of funds, sometimes elected officials become a little careless with the investments they make.”

Dan Way is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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  • Lynne Stephens

    “… to apply toward the initial phase of the sportsplex, which is expected to cost between $10 million and $12 million. No cost has been given for the other six phases.”

    No costs given, yet get started and we’ll figure it our later?

    In addition, what about the costs to maintain the faciltiy?

    Another ill conceived project that ends up costing everyone. Parks are good. Let’s have some real leadership and bring in industry and commerce which are real economic economic development projects, not more taxpayer funded debt spending.

  • Howard Richardson

    To is pass this like giving an open check and having no money in the bank.
    Just what this county needs. A place the spend more money and raise taxs on people
    not working and on fixed income that pay tax now.
    The County should be looking for something to come in and pay good and add more than 10 or 12 jobs and stay a year and leave.
    I am not for this and any other tax increse on the poor people in RICHMOND COUNTY.
    This is something for the people that don’t want to work but have a place to go that the POOR COUNTY PAYS FOR>

  • Port Sanders

    What if we used the money from the tax to actually impact both the education of our students and increase economic expansion within the county? You ask, how could we do that? Here is the answer.

    Let us take that tax money that is going to be raised and use it towards scholarships for the top students at the high school on a strictly academic performance basis.

    Once they graduate with their four year degree they must move back to Richmond County to live and work for a least six years with the stipulation if they do not they must pay back the scholarship money. Call it the R.A.I.D.E.R. Scholarship Fund (Raising Academic Importance Deliberately Enticing Residency or some other political jargon acronym).

    You want economic growth, let us get the most intelligent, motivated and hardest working students in this county’s schools to come back here when they graduate and start a business, work and live in the county. This would increase grades at the high school, increase home values in the county, stop the brain drain of the best and brightest from leaving this county year after year and encourage a real entrepreneurial spirit.

    For example the cost of tuition/room & board @ UNCW is $13,800. At any given time if we truly raise $700,000 a year we could send on the R.A.I.D.E.R. Scholarship program 50 kids to college with the stipulation they must come back to Richmond County to either start a business/work and maintain residency for six years. If they violate that term of contract they must pay back the scholarship money.

    How is that for an economic plan/education plan? All local politicians are now officially allowed to take this idea and implement it.

    These sports obsessed parents are living in a fantasy world. The world needs less kids with sports skills and more kids with business skills/life/academic/reading/math skills.

    (Sarcasm Alert!!! Warning )

    The following came from the same group who thought of the sports complex (This group need not worry itself with mundane subjects in Richmond County such as: among adults without a diploma, the illiteracy rate is 25%. No do not look at that! Let us focus instead on the more important: runs batted in percentage during weekend tourneys among 10 year olds!)

    Hey why don’t we just raise the taxes high enough where everyone gets a free 2015 Tahoe with the leather package and four wheel drive? Or we could raise taxes high enough where everyone gets $250,000 a year in income. I think that will work. Or wait, does raising taxes have a negative economic impact? Never mind give me that Tahoe Tax.

    • Aubrey

      This is the most ridiculous post I have ever read. No sarcasm intended.

  • Time4Change

    Amazing. Sago says that the money isn’t being used for education because they didn’t ask for it. Maybe someone needs to actual have the foresight to see what is wrong with this County and try to do something to fix it. And trying to disguise a posh ballpark complex as an economic development project just so it can qualify for a tax increase is not fixing anything. Just more of the same backroom deals that have been going on for years. I find it amazing that the City has spent well over $1 million on a park that they have no money to complete and once again the County is expected to bail them out. Just like Discovery Place Kids. When they were begging for money, it was presented to be sooo much more than what it has panned out to be. But I forgot that the new deli has not been completed, so I realize that I need to wait til it gets finished and then all those economic dollars will come flying in. Sounds like Crump is in charge and has already written the check that expects Sago to sign. So between this project and the DPK project they are planning to spend close to $30 million dollars. Imagine what could have been done with all that money to benefit the WHOLE county? Since it appears Mr. Sago is soliciting for funding opportunities, maybe they should actually hold some public meetings to allow agencies to state their needs. But that would take vision, which doesn’t seem to be welcomed, unless it is done out of the public eye. I challenge Mr. Spradlin to do a series of articles getting to the bottom of some of the questions in this article and the prior posts, digging up the facts and asking the hard questions and being relentless until answers are given. After all, much of the information should be public knowledge.

    • Cliff

      Just wondering Time4Change, what is your beef with DPK? It’s like the ex-boyfriend that broke your heart and you just can’t seem to move on. I’m not quite sure where you have gotten your intel that they are struggling and are in need of money but I’m pretty sure they are doing just fine. Also, it is a wonderful place for kids to go and brings in many from out of this county. Speaking of wonderful places, I’m hoping that this sports complex does pass b/c I for one would like a frisbee golf course. I have no kids but I feel that the project as a whole would be great for this county.

    • Aubrey

      The “DPK project” is a non-profit children’s museum that actually does benefit the whole county. What was presented about Discovery Place Kids that it hasn’t lived up to? Don’t make comments like that if you can’t back them up. It doesn’t need a bailout. What it needs is for negative minded people to realize what an asset it is to this county and to support it instead of posting negative comments about it. I mean honestly, what kind of person can condemn a children’s museum? What does that say about your values? A children’s museum’s purpose isn’t to make a profit. It’s to provide fun learning experiences for kids in this WHOLE county. The recreation complex will also benefit the entire county. Why do you have such a problem with the city of Rockingham having the vision to build things that encourage children in our county to be active and healthy and to have learning opportunities such as a children’s museum? For some reason, I honestly thought our children were our future. No one is trying to get rich off of this sales tax increase. They’re trying to provide a better quality of life for everyone in this county. Why is that such a bad thing? Why is a mere $2.50 for every $1,000 spent such a bad thing? Why are people so dead set against this idea? Is it because Rockingham had the idea and not Hamlet? This county has got to pull together and stop drawing city lines. GET OVER IT!

  • worried mom

    if the ideas from these people posting are implemented, I would like for my children to move away and not come back. If you think paying for education and then forcing them to come back will create jobs, what jobs are they coming back for? Who will pay when the business they opened goes out of business? They are moving away because of the quality of life.

    Obviously sports complexes do not work…it’s not like other cities have them and are filled most weekends, oh wait yes they do. Who pays for them? Must just be the rich locals.

    Why does industry choose us over Laurinburg, Wadesboro or Cheraw? What sets us apart? This complex would give us a big advantage believe it or not.

    Education is important but sports are as well. The leadership, team work, and discipline learned by playing sports is just as valuable as a good education.

  • http://yahoo rick

    Most of the posts here raise very valid questions. It’s great to have members of the community that take a stand for what they believe is right. Approximately 45 years ago the school board made a decision that would impact the lives of everyone in the county. It was decided that Richmond Senior High would be “one for all”. As most know the decision is known to have been decided because of football. Yes we have had some great football teams past and present. The problem is that the academics got left behind, not to mention how hard it is for someone who lives in Mangum to drive 45 minutes to school or the fact that controling 2000 students is difficult and the demand on these students is tremendous. Many students have been pushed to the side over the years that would have benefited from a school that was smaller than Richmond, which seems to be as big as most community colleges in the state. Now the citizens of Richmond County are asked to pay more taxes for more sports, Cindy Goodman is right about the schools and I would support that with no problem. Problem is that the city of Rockingham has already started spending in anticipation of the windfall from the tax. Lets take a look at Browder park, the building and gym, then the tennis courts and old playground and picnic shelters that were there at one time-You be the judge-does Rockingham take care of anything related to Parks and Rec. Also if that doesn’t convince you take a look at the parking lot at Bynum-you could get an army jeep stuck in some of the gulleys out there. Some people may even remember a park with a pool, pond, and basketball court. It wasn’t taken care of and they removed the dam, filled the pool and now it is an eyesore. Perhaps in the next election we could vote for a tax increase to benefit the school system-curriculum only? This election Im voting no and hope that everyone else will consider these problems that most of the people in these replys have raised, even if the papers address them. I agree with Time4change lets see some articles raising these concerns!

  • Aubrey

    Thanks for making the point that the city needs funds to improve their facilities. I don’t think the city is trying to say, “Look at our great buildings, pool, and parking lots.” I think it is clear that their buildings are outdated and they have outgrown their current facilities. The city is obviously saying that they want and need the money to provide better facilities. Even if the city had the money to renovate the building at Browder Park, it still wouldn’t solve the problem that they need more fields to accommodate the number of youth from all over the county who participate in their programs. I have a son who plays recreation sports and travel ball and I can honestly say that even though the buildings and parking lots might not be the best, the actual fields that the kids play on are better than any fields in the state. Maybe you should ride around and look at those. Then you can get a better sense of how well the city takes care of their fields.

  • http://yahoo Rick

    I think this reply section may be getting to be somewhat of a “spitting” match. I have visited facilities in Concord, Myrtle Beach, Rock Hill, Southern Pines. I don’t find any of these fields to be any less than what we have, actually just the opposite???Before anyone tells me that “Maybe I should ride around and look at these”-we might should also look at the fact that these places are in larger communities with larger tax bases-higher income, less unemployment and more structured governments. Demonstrate to me a town with a median income and population the size of Rockingham/Richmond that has any kind of fields like they are proposing??? It looks to me like there is a minority of people who are not satisfied with the facilities here and they expect the rest of Richmond County- approximately 50,000 to help with “their dream”. Most likely a mere several hundred or probably much less, that have kids on travel teams. I can appreciate the want to improve Richmond County, but people need to take a realistic assesment of where they live and the realistic possibilities. Industry and jobs create tax bases that can build and sustain projects of this enormous size-not a small struggling local economy in which we live. A lot of people have chosen to move away from the area as the last few census indicate-perhaps they were wanting for something the county could not offer or afford? OR perhaps they were part of the approximately 450 graduates of Richmond Senior, Leak Street and the early college last year. Perhaps some of the citizens should consider where 450 students with or without college or vocational training are supposed to find work in the county??? Not just this year, but every year! It would be nice to think that people retiring and new jobs would fill this, but that would also be a dream!!!! This project is putting the cart before the horse! Dr. Cindy Goodman had an excellent idea about using some of the taxes, I agree except that all of the taxes should be used for education-academics only!!! Show me a county the size of Richmond, with the economy of Richmond that has such an elaborate and well rounded sports facility as that at Richmond Senior High????People can complain all they want, but that is better than most of the large counties in North Carolina-be thankful for what Richmond does have. “The city is obviously saying they want and need the money to provide better facilities”-I have seen where one phase was indicated at a cost of 10-12 million. I haven’t seen much from the city as to what they want or need??? It is obvious that the plans are still up in the air-and as far as any of you with kids on travel teams-good luck on this construction going quickly and smoothly in time for your kids to play on it!!! I can only imagine the chaos and frustration from such an undertaking. Again I think this has turned into a “spitting” match. The confrontation of these replies towards others opinions is probably not what the editor of the paper had in mind? Maybe we should state our opinions and stop attacking other peoples-that kind of behavior would make Richmond County a much better place to live! However, I will not have my opinions attacked and be “run over” by some rightous, pro-tax advocate.

  • http://yahoo Rick

    Where’s my second post????

  • Amy D.

    Having mostly read about the sports complex that some say ‘will bring jobs and growth’, I’ve only had one major thought about the whole thing.


    ‘It’ll be great for Richmond County.’, yeah, sure, youbetcha, just as long as the people who have a fixed income, those that live paycheck to paycheck, and the ones who can’t afford groceries because they had to pay the rent so they have a place to live for another week or two, pays for it.

    ‘Kids need something to do!’, well, I might have told y’all that when I was a kid, but back then there was not one, but two movie theaters. Swimming lessons at Browder Park. Playing at Memorial Park in Hamlet, getting a little heat on the back of the legs when going down the long metal slide because the sun shined a little too much on it.

    ‘It’ll bring in a splash park, a carousel, a miniature train, and a dog park.’, Who can ride the miniature train? Just children or can adults and teenagers ride too? Same with the carousel, who gets the honor to ride the pink pony with the purple hair, I hope it’s me (no, I don’t, not really). Question: should this actually happen, will we have to pay to be able to actually visit the sports complex? To use it’s brand new, sparkling facilities?

    Though to be honest, out of those I listed above, the one that bothered me was the dog park. That could bring some problems in itself.

    Example: Let’s use my dog, Buster, who is a Rottweiler in this. Buster and I go to the dog park, and while we have a toy for him to chase after, he sees another dog, a Shepard/Husky mix for instance, let’s name him Bosco, who has a toy as well. For y’all who don’t know my dog, he’s very, very jealous and thinks that every dog toy made if for him. Buster goes to take Bosco’s toy, they start fighting and one of them gets bit, and it starts, the bickering people do. “He should have been on a lease, he shouldn’t have been allowed here.”, says one. Where I would have to say, “But it’s a dog park, he’s a dog, he’s playing at the park.” What would happen then? Would my dog be banned from the park that was supposedly built for him and his kind to have fun? Will there be a ‘they can come if they stay on a leash’ rule? Will my dog be put down because he nipped Bosco, all because he wanted to play in the dog park?

    I’m getting off the point, and I apologize.

    There are people who think it’s a great idea. There are people who it’s bad idea, which, I’ll admit, it is. There are people who don’t care, they’ll just keep going on doing as they do.

    Instead of wanting money to build a new place for football, basketball, baseball, soccer, a carousel, a splash park, a dog park, a golf course, a miniature train and whatever else that’s supposedly going to bring jobs and growth…why don’t we, the people of Richmond County, try to clean up what we already have? To make it a place where ‘big’ business, whoever or whatever that might be want to come here? To bring the jobs and growth that we, as a supposed whole, are lacking.

    But then again, I suppose that maybe, that just makes too much sense for some folks. Everyone always wants the brand new, bright and shiny and to forget about the old and tarnished.

    Wow, that was incredibly wordy, wasn’t it? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. Hope y’all have a nice evening.

    • Ann McNeely

      You hit the nail on the head. I don’t mind the tax, but fix what we already have and maintain it. Make sure our schools have what they need, THEN build something new.

  • worried mom

    Why do you consider this something for travel players? If they are on a travel team they are already going other places to play. They will not play at this park each and every week. The tournaments hosted will bring people to our town but it is again not every week. This is something for our town to use and be proud of, strange thought I know.

    Currently my kids play on teams in other areas but I would like this even if they never step foot on the fields – I know this is a good thing for our community.

  • Time4Change

    Folks, I like watching the grandkids play sports just as much as everyone else. It is great to have DPK for them to go to. I am not bashing either one. What I am asking is did DPK provide the jobs and tourism that was promised when it was raising money? I think not. No, I don’t have the proof, but I have been by there quite often, and it appears to be less than full. I agree that there is a need for better sports facilities, but if that is what we are talking about, then advertise it as just that. Don’t hide behind jobs and growth. It will not provide a rate of return that would support this much being spent. This is not meant to be a fight about whether we need parks or not, it is about once again being misled and no one askingte hard questions. Hold a public meeting and answer questions. Show us the whole plan. The whole budget. The details behind the projections, the total number of jobs the City will provide, etc. Then we all need to ask ourselves…is this what we really need to spend $700,000 per year one. Is it? Will this be the very best project we could spend the money on to make Richmond County better? Stop taking the questions as personal attacks. It is not that I do not want to spend the extra $2.50 per $1,000. I actually support a tax increase. But we are only going to get one chance at this money. This is it. Do the math. If the City expects the County to pay for this park, and assuming they get a loan for the money, it will take probably 22 years to pay it off. Do we need to tie up 22 years worth of funds on a park complex. Will that move the needle in Richmond County enough to create more jobs, more growth, more revenue? Will it? Ask the hard questions. Be honest with yourself. If you say yes, then I am fine with that, because at least some serious thought and analysis was done, which is more than what has been done in the past. If you say no, then I encouage to to work to find those answers, again by asking the hard questions. Challenging the status quo. Forcing others to stop accepting the average and to tear down the barriers that prevent our children and grandchildren from being the best and the brightest. Think about what worried mom said above. “Education is important, but sports are also”. And then the comment about lessons in sports being as good as an education. I might agree with both of these statements IF we were placing as much emphasis on receiving a good education FIRST. You must build that foundation for everything else to build upon. If we did away with education, could we survive with just sports? No. If we did away with sports, could we survive with just education? Yes. This means that we must provide education first and allow sports to complement education. Before we start trying to figure out what we need to spend these funds on…no matter whether it is sports, parks, education, water, sewer, etc. we first need to figure out exactly what the problem is and then we must decide why the problem exists. Then and only then can we develop a plan to fix it. So if jobs and growth is the problem, I challenge you to show me why the lack of a park complex is why that problem exists and if it truly is, what is the detailed plan that we must follow that will provide the solution to the jobs and growth problem? So before you dismiss my thoughts again as being a “hater”, re-read my post, think about my questions, which by the way seem to be a lot of other folks questions, and provide the documentation to suport your position.

  • http://aol Jimmy

    Well said Time4Change! I agree with a lot of what you are saying. 2.50 per thousand is not a huge increase,but lets make sure it is spent on something that can provide the best use of this tax. I really don’t think there are any haters on this post-almost all have very valid points. Some are a little blount about their opinions but really bring up some great questions. First off, the City of Rockingham needs to have some kind of meeting to let the public know exactly what is going on-no one here really seems to have all of the answers that they could surely answer. Someone also made a valid point that Rockingham hasn’t had the best track record on taking care of current facilities. Then someone said the fields were better than anyone’s? I have observed that some things are not kept in great working order. My little boy had to go to the bathroom at Browder one day and there was no door, so I had to stand in front of him to keep him from others views, then we didnt have any toilet paper that wasn’t wet and there was no soap or paper towels to use. It also looked like it needed painting ten years ago. Someone made the point of Browder in general and it doesn’t appear to have had any funds for “upkeep” for some time. Another great point was that education should come first, I can only agree with this. Several people have mentioned this and it seems like a county wide tax should be used county wide and I can think of no better way to spend it for our children than on education. I just don’t believe there is enough support for this to pass-so perhaps we could encourage the school board request it in the next election? Perhaps Rockingham should revise their budget for improvements to current facilities? They seem to have made a lot of vehicle purchases lately-perhaps they will not need as many in the next few years? Anybody else have any ideas-I’m scratching my head on this one? I certainly don’t want to offend anyone with my ideas-just brain storming on a huge decision for the community.

  • Ben

    As the parent of a player on a travel team, I can assure you that this facility, if approved, will bring much needed revenue into our county. People say that families will not spend their money here, but will go to Southern Pines to eat, etc. Well, if you have ever been to any type of travel tournament, you are pretty much tied to that area as there isn’t time allowed between games to go too far away. Therefore, families will indeed shop and eat in Richmond County. On any given weekend, there are various travel teams from Richmond County spending THOUSANDS of dollars elsewhere! Local businesses and restaurants would be wise to advertise and compete for this additional revenue. We recently attended a tournament where a brochure was handed out at the gate advertising local businesses. Before anyone accuses me of promoting this for the benefit of my child, let me go ahead and let you know that he will not benefit from this because he will be too old once the project is completed. I am supporting this because children will benefit from it for years to come.

  • Ann M.

    Why would anyone spend 1.5 million plus to buy and prep land for a project without means or a plan to further finance it? ($750,000 grant to purchase the land, $889,000 to prep it. Noted above) Who owned this land that was purchased for $750,000? What a windfall. If this referendum does not pass, what happens to this high-dollar, prepped land? If the first phase is $10-12 million plus, what is the cost of the other phases and how many years in the future will these phases be completed? Looks good on paper and it would be great to see it happen. However, there are too many unanswered questions between the dream and reality. Is it poor planning, poor leadership, or both?

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