The Fife City Council, after much discussion at its regular meeting Tuesday night, recommended that staff move forward with a lodging tax application to possibly fund a feasibility study for a proposed sports complex.
The next step comes after the California-based company Sportsplex USA released its preliminary report on the market demand for a multi-use facility, which could include several softball and soccer fields and an on-site restaurant for national and international events.
The city authorized the $7,500 preliminary review as a first step before spending $45,000 on a full, traditional feasibility study. If a full study occurs, it would cost an additional $37,500.
The preliminary study found “a sports complex would be successful. This assessment is based on the analysis of current demographics, freeway access to the potential sites, and airport proximity.”
The report also recommended a “full and comprehensive feasibility study to further validate our initial conclusion.”
Some council members were cautious about the success of such a facility.
Councilman Pat Hulcey said it is difficult to trust the analysis of experts from San Diego when variables, such as weather, are very different in the Pacific Northwest. Spending more money isn’t necessary, he said.
“Looking at this study now I think we have enough information,” Hulcey said. “I don’t think it justifies a full study.”
Council member Kim Roscoe echoed the concerns about weather. She requested more analysis by staff, not Sportsplex, on the likelihood of rainouts and other weather related issues that could arise with the proposed facility. Additionally, she said she is hesitant to move forward until the council knows whether or not other cities have similar plans in the pipeline.
City Manager Dave Zabell said staff would look into both issues.
Deciding to move forward with the lodging tax application process is just one of many steps, said City Council member Glenn Hull. Deciding to move forward doesn’t commit the city to anything concrete, he said, and ending the process before it is fully explored could result in a missed opportunity.
“This is a long-range vision,” Hull said. “Some of the stuff you’re asking will come out in a full study.”
Applications for use of lodging tax funds will be accepted starting Monday until Aug. 15, said city spokeswoman Laurel Potter.
The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee will review requests and make a recommendation to the City Council in September.
Kari Plog: 253-597-8682
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