Kent County sports complex gets brand name, marketing logo

06dsn Sports complex update1

DOVER — There’s a new handle for the upcoming Kent County Regional Sports Complex.

Just call it “The Turf.”

If the $24 million project evolves as supporters expect, “The Turf” will become a familiar destination known to a multitude of youth sports enthusiasts and bring a projected direct economic impact to Kent County of up to $30 million annually.

Designed by the Delaware Sports Commission, “The Turf” gives the sports complex a brand name that will be marketed with the rest of the package that includes 12 synthetic turf field with lights and the amenities that come with them.

“It’s descriptive of the project and it’s a term we think will resonate with potential users of the multi-sport complex and will aid in marketing of the complex,” said Bill Strickland, president of the board of directors of the Kent County Regional Sports Complex Corp.

06dsn Sports complex update2Shelly Cecchett is serving as acting executive director until a full-time leader is found. The nationwide search has yielded more than 85 candidates with what she and Mr. Strickland described as impressive credentials.

There’s a lot to like about overseeing “The Turf” near Frederica as the endeavor evolves, Ms. Cecchett said.

“This is a first-class facility with its turf, lights, concession stands …” Ms. Cecchett said. “It’s a facility that will separate us from other facilities on the East Coast.”

The board of directors plans to advertise for construction bids beginning Aug. 17, with bids due on Sept. 22. A tentative timeline provided last week (based on estimated agency reviews) has the construction contract being awarded on Oct. 9, with a yearlong building phase starting Oct. 15.

Mr. Strickland said he expects the first tournament at “The Turf” to be held Columbus Day weekend in October 2016. Organizers figured on 10 tournaments annually when calculating potential expenses and revenue feasibility, which they said was a conservative number.

Financing reviewed

On Aug. 18, Kent County Levy Court will vote on whether to approve the structure of the financing, which involves a proposed $20 million tax-exempt bond offering issued by M&T Bank. Levy Court would serve as the conduit for bonds if the plan is approved, and cover any annual KCRSC shortfall through a loan.

Before handling the bond, M&T Bank requested a feasibility study to determine the likelihood of it being purchased.

Results of the analysis by Conventions, Sports & Leisure International will be presented on Aug. 18 before Levy Court.

“All indications are that Conventions, Sports, & Leisure International is issuing a favorable report and the project will move forward,” Mr. Strickland said.

THE TURF BUDGET Following is the $24 million construction budget for the Kent County Regional Sports Complex: Buildings — $1.5 million Site work/utilities — $1.75M  Playing fields — $9.3 million Stadium — $2.4 million Site features (parking, lighting, fencing, community features) — $4.3 million Contingency (10 percent) — $1.9 million Soft costs — $2.8 million

THE TURF BUDGET
Following is the $24 million construction budget for the Kent County Regional Sports Complex:
Buildings — $1.5 million
Site work/utilities — $1.75M
Playing fields — $9.3 million
Stadium — $2.4 million
Site features (parking, lighting, fencing, community features) — $4.3 million
Contingency (10 percent) — $1.9 million
Soft costs — $2.8 million

If approved, the bond will be offered this fall by M&T Bank. The remaining approximate $4 million will be provided by the state through its Infrastructure Fund ($3.2 million) and transfer from the Bond Bill ($800,000).

While the state plans to build a temporary exit and entry point at the complex site on northbound Del. 1 near Frederica, a full interchange will begin in Fiscal Year 2016.

Thanks to additional revenue to the Transportation Trust Fund through Division of Motor Vehicle fees, construction on the Del. 1 South Frederica grade-separated intersection will begin next year, earlier than previously anticipated by sports complex organizers.

A proposed large scale sports complex in Middletown has not dissuaded local KCRSC backers from belief in a lucrative future for their own project.

“I think ours is a tournament site and (Middletown’s) is a nice recreational facility for people in the New Castle County area,” he said. “Our competitive advantage of turf fields and lights will separate us.”
Board of Directors

Recently, the KCRSCC Board of Directors was formed, including:

Mr. Strickland and Ms. Cecchett, Greater Kent Committee

State Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover

Levy Court Commissioner Eric Buckson

Delaware Sports Commission Executive Director Chris W. Giaccomucci

State of Delaware Director of Tourism Office Linda Parkowski

State Rep. Jack Peterman, R-Milford

Levy Court Administrator Michael Petit de Mange

Kent County Tourism Office Director Cindy Small

Members by appointment included:

Appointed for district representation were Wilmer Abbott, Dr. Sean Mercer, David Rutt, John Paradee, Michael Harrington and Dave Bonar, plus Robert Reed at-large.

The governor will provide an appointee, along with New Castle and Sussex counties.

Mr. Strickland was chosen as board president, while Ms. Parkowski became vice president. Mr. Giaccomucci is the secretary.

Ms. Cecchett is chair of the facilities committee. Mr. Sweeney is chairman of the usage committee, while Mr. Eaby is treasurer and chairman of the finance committee.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment