Earlier this week, Gastonia, NC officials presented details on a new Gastonia Grizzlies (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) ballpark that will anchor a downtown redevelopment initiative.
The proposal for a new Grizzlies ballpark calls for it to be a hub for events within the 16-acre Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment (FUSE) District, a larger redevelopment concept. The facility itself will be designed to host multiple types of events in addition to Grizzlies’ games, including concerts, soccer, lacrosse, and football. It will also come with amenities such as a 360-degree concourse, cabana suites, banquet/lounge space, a covered two-floor beer garden, and more, with a total capacity of 5,000.
Details of the project were discussed at a meeting on Tuesday. For right now, officials are planning for the estimated $21.5 million project to be completed in 2021. More from The Gaston Gazette:
The projected cost of building the multipurpose events complex itself is $21.5 million. The roadmap for footing that bill is multilayered.
To start, the city would count on getting $2.5 million in donations for the project, and also pull $1 million from its electric fund, leaving $18 million it would need to finance.
Financing that amount for 20 years at 4.75 percent interest would require an annual debt service payment of $1.7 million. The city would make that annual payment primarily by selling limited obligation bonds that would produce an estimated $750,000 of revenue each year. It would also apply $100,000 of its hotel occupancy tax revenues toward the debt each year, and use other money it will gain from retiring other debt service beginning in 2020.
The limited obligation bond mechanism would not require voter approval on a ballot referendum.
There is still a considerable amount of planning left in the process. Under the current timeline, a guaranteed maximum price for building the ballpark will be delivered in March or April, with the financing moving forward later in the spring and construction beginning this summer. The facility would open in the spring of 2021, and replace Sims Legion Park as home of the Grizzlies.
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