It’s a Simple Plan, and That’s Why We’re Worried
Tonight at 7pm the Chesterfield City Council will meet and open the floor to public comment regarding the construction and funding of a new ice facility. Under consideration is the extension of a 3/8-cent sales tax in the Chesterfield Valley area to raise $10 million for the development, but there are a few questions that should be asked in order to better understand where the project currently stands.
The first of these questions should be whether there is enough market demand in the area to warrant the construction. In June, Ballard*King & Associates performed a cursory market analysis that found “…the demand for ice time has not exceeded the supply which has resulted in creating a ‘buyers’ market.” Increased access to hockey rinks is ideal for anyone interested in cheaper ice time, but should public funds go towards the construction of a facility that won’t be filling a void in demand, but would instead reallocate where spending takes place?
It’s also important to know what the proposed sales tax revenue would be spent on: Revenue generated from an extension of the current Chesterfield Valley TDD could be used only to fund transportation-related projects such as bridges, streets, parking lots, garages, etc. According to a concept-level estimate for ice rinks, the total construction costs would be $26 million, but spending almost two-fifths of total construction costs on street renovations seems excessive. A final cost estimate that specifies a particular site and project is crucial to help residents see exactly where their dollars would be going.
With the Hardee’s IcePlex set to close and be taken over by Topgolf, it’s completely understandable for residents to want a new ice rink close to home in the Valley. All the same, if none of the information provided thus far goes beyond the conceptual level into specifics, more details may be needed before an informed decision can be made regarding funding a new project.
I will be presenting testimony (the full text of which is available by clicking on the link below) at tonight’s hearing.