Progress, financial report noted on River Valley Sports Complex

story by Ryan Saylor
rsaylor@thecitywire.com

The River Valley Sports Complex took another step forward at Tuesday's (July 15) Fort Smith Board of Directors regular meeting with a vote approving a financial assurance agreements between the city and RVSC.

The city said the agreements would protect its interests.

"The assurance is a list of equipment or work with stated discounts or donations," wrote Fort Smith Parks and Recreation Director Mike Alsup in a memo.

"The city agreed to fund up to $1.6 million dollars for this project and Jake (Files) and Lee (Webb) agreed to provide assurances that the rest of funding needed or in-kind services and donations would be met," he told the Board Tuesday.

Alsup said the U.S. Army Reserve was preparing to go to work Aug. 1 on grading the property, which will be completed in about one months time. Alsup has previously reported to the Board that the military reserve units working at the site would work in two different two-week installments, with work slated to be complete August 28.


Webb said work was already taking place at the site in preparation of the Army Reserve arriving on site to complete its mission, which is being provided at cost (supplies, fuel, etc.) to RSVC as part of a larger training mission for the reservists.

Included in the Board packet provided to city directors and the media was a progress report of financial assurances, which estimated the national guard site work to be a total donated value to the organization of $1.2 million.

Other donations include the 62.9 acres of property at Chaffee Crossing donated by the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority valued at $943,500, engineering and design work valued at $60,000, scoreboards valued at $40,000 and a portion of the concession stand and restrooms with a total donation of $150,000.

In all, donations for the site — according to the progress report — stand at a value of $2.394 million. Overall, the progress report said the total value of the site will be about $4.325 million though the estimated real cost will only be $1.591 million.

Some of the documents presented to the Board as part of the assurance did not necessarily have price tags attached, something Vice Mayor Kevin Settle said he would like to have seen. Webb said he and Files would make sure to add total price to many of the items donated by various corporations so the city has an idea of what the value of various donated items actually is.

If the estimated real costs hold true, the city will see the complex completed for slightly less than the $1.6 million committed to the project.

And the city could see a boost to the local economy as a result of the investment.
In an e-mail to the Board before Tuesday's meeting, Files pointed to a sports complex in Blaine, Minn., which recently had a $3.2 million expansion and is hosting a youth soccer tournament at the site.

"Tens of thousands of athletes and soccer fans are expected to descend on the Twin Cities this week for the USA Cup. The tournament is held every year at the National Sports Center – the largest soccer complex in the world. This year’s event includes 1,060 youth soccer teams, and more than 15,000 players from 21 states and 19 different countries. The tournament brings more than $20.4 million of economic activity into Minnesota every year," the press release said.

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The RVSC has been touted by Webb and Files as a tournament quality field that would drive economic development and Files again made his point before the vote.

"This announcement shows what we have been saying all along. Our complex can be and should be an economic driver and will have an economic impact on our Region," he wrote.

The River Valley Sports Complex is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015.

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