Editor's Note: We ran this story earlier this week but we know how hectic the work week can be. Plus, we wanted to make sure our weekend readers had a chance to join the conversation!
The detailed plans for a proposed 150-acre, $78.3 million athletic complex are now in the hands of Ankeny school board members to review.
Clark Kramme, an Ankeny resident who, along with his brother, Mark, wants to build the complex to be used by multiple entities in the community, appeared before the school board Monday night. Kramme was requesting the project be placed on a future school board agenda for members to share and discuss with district residents.
Once public feedback is garnered by the school board, it eventually could be asked to consider the district’s financial involvement in the project.
“We have a window of opportunity here, and our main goal is to have the facility up and complete by July 1, 2013,” Kramme told the school board Monday night.
What do you think of plans for this athletic complex? Will Ankeny residents support the idea? Tell us below in comments.
The board did not take any action on Kramme’s proposal nor did members respond to his presentation, which was done in the public comments portion of the meeting.
According to an archived article by the Des Moines Register, the Krammes want to develop an athletic complex featuring commercial properties on the east side of Interstate Highway 35 along First Street. It would include a football stadium, competition pool, and both indoor and outdoor complexes.
The Krammes told the Register the complex would provide the expanding school district with space for athletic facilities and also offer more fields for the city's recreation programs and local clubs.
The district will finish the transition to two high schools in the fall of 2013. It has not been determined how the district will pay for competition field facilities at Ankeny Centennial High School, competition swimming and diving facilities for both high schools, and a stadium that would serve both schools, according to the Register article. Estimates from November put those needs at more than $27 million.
Both the city of Ankeny and the school board eventually could be asked to consider a 20-year leasing option to finance the project, Kramme told Ankeny Patch following the meeting. The lease would mean both entities would contribute about $2.1 million each per year toward the project's capital costs.
Kramme said operational costs for the facility should break even four or five years after its completion. In year five, Kramme said, revenue from the facility should start reducing the facility cost over and above the lease payment.
All revenue associated with the facility would go back to the city and school district.
"At this time, we're not expecting a yes or no answer (from the city or the school district)," Kramme said. "The community will provide the answer for us and for the school board."
Project Touted as Drawing 90,000 Visitors to Ankeny
Kramme told school board members the project has made great strides, and he provided school board president George Tracy with the full comprehensive plan, as well as the other members with an overview of the main points. The plan was created by Sports Facility Advisory Group.
The comprehensive plan includes the potential cost to build the complex, which includes land, infrastructure and all facilities, as well as operational costs and the affect the facility will have on the city’s economy.
“(This) will contribute $30 million to the local economy just from the facility, 240,000 people will be using it and 90,000 of those will be from out-of-state,” Kramme said. “People from all over town have been asking me about it and want to support this project.”
Kramme also told the board the project has garnered the support of the Ankeny Booster Club and the Ankeny Parents Association.
“We’re not duplicating what you’re trying to do – we’re one city supporting two schools, and this can be run from a neutral position,” Kramme told board members. “I’d love to sit down and talk with you about anything you’d like.”
Residents Speak Out in Support of Idea
Three Ankeny residents also appeared before the board in support of the project, including Jeff Hardy, who said he’d been working with a large number of groups to ensure the project is indeed wanted.
“Ankeny’s growth presents both opportunities and challenges,” Hardy said. “The bottom line is a significant investment must be made.”
Scott Koch told board members Ankeny must have the facilities to match its size rather than spend money to take kids out of town for recreational opportunities.
Mackenzie Rubin said she believes the sport complex “absolutely” has to be built.
“I’m here to tell you if you ask your community, we will tell you we want this,” Rubin said. “There are obstacles to overcome and decisions to be made, but we’ve worked together before and have an excellent track record of making the right decisions for our students.”