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MARBLE FALLS — If supporters want to build a regional sports complex to attract more tournaments and teams to the area, they’re going to have to keep working on a way to pay for it.

But if it looks like there’s no money down the road, then it’s time to step up to the plate and say so, said Mayor George Russell.

That was one of the messages during a workshop Nov. 6 involving the City Council, the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Economic Development Corp. during a discussion of the feasibility of a future sports complex.

The panelists at the workshop, the last of three such sessions, discussed how to pay for building phases 1 and 2 of the proposed sports complex.

Estimated costs for each phase — which include softball, baseball, soccer and football fields and tennis courts — is $4.5 million, but that doesn’t take into consideration the purchase of any land.

The officials agreed they still needed to keep thinking about fundraising.

“Nobody is saying to spend $10 million,” City Manager Ralph Hendricks said. “We’re still exploring the option of what we can as a community afford, what is the best benefit for the youth. We’re doing the best we can.”

Mayor George Russell suggested asking at least one member of each organization to form a committee and discuss possible solutions. Russell said that if a revenue stream can’t be identified, then the time is nearing for the organizations to say so.

Most didn’t want to ask taxpayers to approve a bond to pay for the complex. Russell noted that for every $1 million of improvements, there’s $80,000 in maintenance costs.

The attendees agreed that most of the children participating in youth leagues come from other parts of Burnet County. So it makes sense to ask other city governments to help find solutions or give some funding to help, they added.

“They’re all going to have to do the exact same thing,” Russell said. “They’re going to have to come up with a revenue stream, they have to go through the same process.”

The Marble Falls Independent School District has land off of Manzano Mile, which is one of the two possible sites for a complex.

The school district’s Director of Special Projects, Cord Woerner, said administrators’ doors are open to anyone who wishes to talk to them.

“We’ll talk to the school, we’ll talk to other communities,” Hendricks said. “It’s going to take a while.”

Councilwoman Jane Marie Hurst noted that time is of the essence with the holidays approaching.

Timing is also essential if officials decide they want to put a referendum on the ballot during a spring election to approve the complex.

“We can do it,” she said. “We can do it if we put our hearts into it.”

 

jfierro@thepicayune.com