has something for everyone; whether you enjoy museums, dog parks, mountain bike and walking trails, a good library or a great park that is accessible for all abilities.
This ballot question also addresses the huge demand for more athletic fields throughout the city. The largest number of fields are slated to go on federal government land given to the city exclusively for recreational purposes. The land is free, the need is high, and the time is right.
In addition to parks, trails, museums and libraries, Question 4 funds recreational fields for local team use. authorizes the construction of athletic fields and increases the hotel bed tax so tourist dollars can be used to pay for the construction of tournament fields.
Where is the proposed Sports Complex facility to be located?
The Multi-Purpose Sports Complex is proposed for the presently vacant, city-owned land between Brown Road on the North, Adobe Street on the South, and West of 80th Street. For those not familiar with these intersections, it would be located between Loop 202 and Power Road along Brown Road, just southeast of Red Mountain High School.
Why was this site chosen? Why not put it in central Mesa?
The site was selected through an exhaustive Market Feasibility & Economic Impact Study, which was completed in May 2015. The findings and the impacts were later vetted and fleshed out further by renowned economist, Elliott D. Pollack & Company in January 2016 and again in March 2018. This site is already owned by the City of Mesa which means no land purchase is necessary. Further, this site, which was deeded to the City years ago by the BLM, can only be used for recreational purposes like the proposed Complex. Finally, an East Mesa site is strategic because it almost guarantees that visitor consumption (hotels, restaurants, retail purchases) will occur in Mesa rather than in other nearby cities.
Why are there so many fields planned when we already have other fields nearby?
The current supply of fields doesn’t come close to matching the demand from field sports communities in soccer, lacrosse, football, field hockey and rugby. Availability for nightly practices and weekend games is scarce. And some of these sports are growing extremely fast and the demand for fields far outpaces the supply. For example, according to the Arizona Soccer Association, the number of registered players in the southeast Valley has grown by nearly 30% just in the past five years.
The design elements for the Sports Complex were developed through a detailed survey of over 400 local, regional and national sports event planners. In other words, it is the user groups – the customers who will book this facility – who have designed this proposed complex.
Finally, many of the events that we will be hosting are college showcase tournaments and it is cost prohibitive for the event organizers to split operations between different fields throughout the City. Not only is it cost prohibitive, but producing an event at multiple locations is a logistical nightmare for event producers. Also, college coaches attending tournaments for recruiting purposes will not spend their valuable time in a vehicle moving from one park to another. College coaches will attend tournaments at which the games and their recruits are at one facility. They simply will not come otherwise, and therefore, tournament directors will look elsewhere for their event location.
How much will the project cost to build and what will it cost me?
The 24 multi-purpose fields are budgeted to cost $55 million. However, the 9 artificial “community” fields, which are packaged in the $111 million Parks & Culture bond (Question 4 on the ballot), are estimated to cost $25 million. If the $25M were pro-rated from the $111M, the estimated cost to the average Mesa homeowner is $5.44 per year or $0.45 per month. The full Parks & Culture Bond is estimated to cost $24 per year for the average Mesa homeowner, or $2 per month.
Question 5 simply authorizes the City of Mesa to build the other 15 natural grass “tournament” fields. These fields, along with the spectator seating, are estimated to cost $30M. However, these fields will be built with City enterprise funds and Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) revenues. This means there will be NO additional tax to you, the Mesa resident. Thus, Question 5 is not a new or additional tax.
Question 6 on the ballot raises the hotel bed tax by 1%, from 5% to 6%, to help build the 15 natural grass “tournament” fields. Visitors are paying for the facility both in the short term and long term.
What are the annual economic benefits of the Sports Complex? (Below does not include the additional fiscal impacts during the construction phase).
- 349,000+ new visitors
- $350.3M total economic output; $199.3M in direct visitor expenditures (no multipliers or inducements)
- 3,256 new, sustained jobs
- Over 150,000 hotel room nights booked in Mesa
- Will prove to be a catalyst for other economic development in the area like hotels, restaurants and retail
Source: Economic and Fiscal Impact of the proposed Mesa Youth & Amateur Sports Complex, Elliott D. Pollack & Company, March 2018
Will the anticipated revenues cover the costs of annual operations and maintenance?
Yes, and then some! The Elliott D. Pollack & Company report conservatively anticipates the facility generating positive net revenues for the City of Mesa (after paying operations and maintenance expenses) even when booking the facility at 50% of its capacity, which is not likely to ever occur.
If this Youth & Amateur Sports Complex is expected to be so lucrative why doesn’t the private sector build it and assume the costs?
The reason municipalities build sports complexes all over the country is because it is the cities that are the primary beneficiaries of the resulting revenues. The real money is not made through on-site rental fees and concessions, but rather through visitor tax receipts from spending at hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, etc. These visitors spend their dollars in our City which also helps to sustain jobs and businesses in our community. Your investment in this project will be paid back over time by visitors. Furthermore, municipally-owned and managed facilities offer much greater access to local residents than do privately owned facilities, at which the primary mission is to lease the space at the highest rental rate in order to turn a profit.
Why should I care about visitors?
In addition to providing quality sports facilities for our children and families to enjoy year-round, another purpose of this facility is to drive significant visitors and their dollars to Mesa. Visitor tax receipts are far more efficient than resident taxes as visitors typically don’t utilize essential public services like schools, jails and libraries that residents require. In fact, without imported visitor dollars the City of Mesa cannot sustain its budgets or provide resident services in the manner you currently expect from your City government. Imported visitor dollars help keep your resident taxes lower in the long-run.
I’ve heard this facility is being built for out of town athletes/visitors and not so much for residents like me. Is that true?
You and your family will have tremendous access to this facility. First, ten of the fields will be made with artificial turf. This means 10 new, state-of-the-art fields will be available to your kids to practice on each night of the week. Plus, your kids will be able to play league games and in tournaments on all 24 fields on various weekends throughout the year depending on which league or tournament through which your kids, or you yourself, are participating.
What is the anticipated timeline for this project?
After success on November 6, and after a few months of design work, the project would break ground around the late summer or Fall of 2019. The Complex is forecasted to open in Spring 2021.
To learn more, please visit www.mesaplays.com and follow us on Facebook or Twitter @mesaplaysAZ.
(As of 9/7/18)
Mesa Mayor John Giles
Vice Mayor David Luna
Mesa City Councilmember Mark Freeman
Mesa City Councilmember Chris Glover
Mesa City Councilmember Francisco Heredia
American Darters Association
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA)
Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association
Arizona Soccer Association
Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority
AYSO – Red Mountain 1079
Benedictine University – Mesa
Deutscher Futsal Academy
East Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Imagine Mesa - #1 Recommendation
International Slow Pitch Softball
Marriott - Arizona Regional Division
Mesa Aquatics Club
Mesa Chamber of Commerce
Mesa Public Schools - Athletic Department
Mesa Soccer Club
Phoenix Rising FC
Prep Baseball Report
SC del Sol
State Basketball Championship
Triple Crown Sports
USA Field Hockey