Funding for rec plan facilities is in beginning stages
Partners of the joint plan say most will need to be funded by the community
May 19, 2017
Finding the tens of millions of dollars needed to build the athletic amenities listed in the Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan is comparable to putting a puzzle together.
And the three entities involved in the plan — Park City Municipal Corp., Snyderville Basin Recreation District and Park City School District — all hold different pieces, meaning each will have to financially contribute to the outline that lists the needed fields and buildings at 10 sites in the Park City area.
But how the partners plan to pay is undecided.
"All of us are involved because the funding mechanism is going to be based on what project is underway," said Julie Eihausen, president of the school board, adding each partner owns land where the plan suggests facilities be built.
The three partners have created a committee to look at the community's recreation needs for the next 20 years. The goals are to make sure bond elections each entity holds for funding the amenities don't overlap and to come up with a timeline for building each facility.
Eihausen, who will represent the school district on the committee, said the committee has not yet set a time for its first meeting.
Park City, however, has gotten a jump start.
When the Park City Council reviewed the budget for fiscal year 2017 this month at its regular meeting, the budget included the projected costs for additional facility capacity at PC MARC, and for an indoor pool, sports fields and ice rink expansion. It lists, for example, that the city provide $8 million for an indoor aquatic area by 2020.
Nate Rockwood, capital budget manager for Park City Municipal, said the capital improvement committee suggested that the facilities not be funded by the government's general fund.
"All of the rec master plan facilities are in the multiple millions of dollars of funding," Rockwood said. "Some of them are over $10 million. And while the general fund is where we have the most flexibility with revenue, or excess revenue that can be transferred from the general fund to the capital fund, it's typically a couple of million dollars a year. It's not the amount of funding that could fund a $15 million recreation facility."
Rockwood said City Hall would most likely have to turn to the community for funding.
"In the past, large facilities needed a dedicated revenue source," he said. "Typically those would be something like a general obligation bond where you would go out to the public."
Ken Fisher, recreation manager for the city, agrees with Rockwood's recommended avenue for funding.
"All along, we figured we would have to come up with funding through a general obligation bond," Fisher said. "The facilities are so expensive. We never expected to pay cash for them."
Rockwood and Fisher say timing the elections will be a strategic effort, because they don't want the plan to get in the way of other bond elections they feel should take priority, such as the upcoming bond election the school district plans to hold in the fall.
"Currently the plan is to have a bond election for the high school expansion, which is $68 million, and for the new grades five through six school," Eihausen said.
Rockwood said that though the government cannot afford to build $15 million amenities, it has set aside money from its budget for smaller projects, such as building a new community center at City Park, which the plan recommends.
"Right now we have $4.5 million in the budget for the community center," he said.
Rockwood added that the facilities, such as an indoor pool, will remain listed on the budget under projects that are not recommended for funding.
"In the capital process, we're saying these aren't recommended for funding, but we're keeping them in the budget because they still have been identified on the rec master plan," he said.
A draft of the Mountain Facilities Recreation Master Plan can be viewed online at http://www.recfacilitiesmp.org. The website includes project information and status updates.