A followup from earlier today’s: “West Covina’s Big League Dreams – Part II, The Facts and the Questions”
We learned that the City of West Covina, in order to fiance the West Covina Big League Dreams Sports Complex, has incurred indebtedness totaling $31.500,000, in the form of two bond issues, which have a yearly debt service to the City of $1,545,000.
A little over two years ago, income thresholds were met, and for the period of July, 2010, through July, 2012, the City has received payments from Big League Dreams West Covina, totaling approximately $1,000,000. This has all been applied to the debt service, covering a bit less than one-third of the yearly obligation.
However, the City is also receiving around $600,000 yearly in tax revenue from the new shopping center that was built on one portion of the old BKK land that was resold for commercial development. While this income is paid into the City’s General Fund, in effect, around $1,100,000 of the $1,545,000 obligation is being covered directly, or indirectly, from income flows stemming from the total development.
The other parcel that was resold was a victim of the recession, and after grading and other building preparation, it was abandoned by the developer, and stands vacant five years after the land sale. Future development of that parcel, as well as additional developments on remaining unused portions of the property, have the potential to add additional income streams for the City.
Also, hotels and other businesses nearby the complex have greatly benefited, and their increased revenues further contribute to higher city revenues, including hotel taxes and business license tax receipts.
Our city leaders consider the BLD Sports Complex a success. Their information is that organized leagues are utilizing the complex to capacity. This raised three questions in our minds:
1. If it is at full capacity, and direct income is only 1/3 of the debt service, what hopes for the future do we have that the complex can actually pay for itself?
Responses basically were that this is a city facility, providing benefits to the people, that there are numerous other bond obligations the City has incurred for other developments that benefit the City and its citizens, and focusing on this one endeavor is unfair.
2. Have the figures contained in the Goals Section of the BLD West Covina Marketing Plan, Exhibit C to the original Maintenance and Operations Agreement entered into between the City of West Covina and BLD West Covina, calling for certain numbers of teams and of leagues actually using the facilities by the second year of operation been met?
They did not have these figures, but promised to provide them in the future.
3. Has everything been done to make the public aware of the facility and that it is available for public use? As my photos demonstrate, I’ve been there on summer afternoons, and the complex has been devoid of activity. Do kids know that it is open and anyone can come and use the fields, any weekday afternoon?
More can, and will, be done, including articles in the City’s newsletter, “Discover”, that is regularly mailed out to all city residents. Additionally, it may be possible to place “ads” on some of the giant shopping center marquees that boarder the City’s intersecting San Bernardino Freeway.
All-in-all, the city representatives we met with seemed forthcoming and sincere in their beliefs that this project was the right thing to do, that it is of great benefit to the community, that leaving the old BKK landfill alone could have had disastrous effects, and that despite being at “capacity” as far as organized leagues are concerned, expanded use in the future will increase revenue streams.