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OUR TURN: Explore ties between two cities’ sports complexes

As city officials in Marble Falls debate the need for a future regional sports complex, they would be wise to remember their neighbors in Granite Shoals have already launched a similar venture.

Planners in both cities might soon want to consider a closer relationship, which, in turn, will benefit the youth and other amateur teams that would use their facilities. Given the sluggish state of the economy, this approach could be mutually beneficial if funding remains a question mark.

The Granite Shoals facility supports tennis and tennis instruction.

Meanwhile, Marble Falls doesn’t anticipate building tennis courts, or at least not for some time if the sports complex is ever approved. But there will be soccer, baseball, softball and perhaps swimming.

Both might feature hiking and biking trails.

The point to remember is the two groups should talk to each other and keep the lines of communication open.

Both ventures on their own face serious economic challenges.

While discussions continue about whether Marble Falls can afford to build a potential $34 million complex someday, Granite Shoals officials are holding fundraisers and struggling to fill coffers to complete their dream of a first-rate tennis facility for the region.

What might work best between the two groups is an eventual partnership. While neither might get everything they want for their respective sports venues, together they at least might be able to offer the Highland Lakes a comprehensive athletic facility.

The thrust behind both projects should be twofold: to provide recreation and competition for area athletic teams and to generate revenue from hotel stays, restaurants and shopping.

Cooperation will be the key. But signs of any possible partnership or even discussion have been limited.

During the most recent feasibility study meetings about the Marble Falls complex, representatives from other cities failed to show up and offer their input, according to officials.

Both of these projects should be serving the entire region, not just their respective municipalities. A continuing dialogue between both groups is essential.

It will build bridges and cut down on any costly duplication.

Public sentiment during the current economic slowdown is not in favor of huge, tax-funded sports venues, no matter what the proponents say.

People want potholes filled and roads fixed before local governments take on any more large projects that avoid addressing infrastructure needs.

So it makes sense for the parties in both Granite Shoals and Marble Falls to consider pooling some resources to ensure the success of these ventures.

Perhaps both venues someday will make up a larger “super” sports complex that will be the talk of Central Texas. Only time will tell.