By Nancy D. Borst
GODDARD – The Goddard STAR bond project is getting bigger.
The city council unanimously approved a Phase II addition at its regular meeting Monday. The council first held a public hearing on the matter but no one spoke during the hearing. The council then approved the addition.
The STAR bond Phase II addition will add five additional competitive baseball/softball fields with synthetic turf surfaces, stadium lighting, team dugouts, bullpens, spectator seating, concessions and restrooms. It also will add an outdoor sand sports complex that includes three sand soccer fields around a common, covered spectator pavilion. There will be mixed styles of seating, locker and changing rooms, concessions and restrooms. The new phase also would include the necessary public and private infrastructure improvements. The new addition would be located southwest of the current baseball fields. Completion is expected in late 2021.
The estimated cost of the addition is $12,587,792. The anticipated net STAR bond proceeds are $10 million, leaving a required private debt/equity share of $2,587,792. The developer will use $5 million of the bond, then contribute the 15 percent private share. Once the entire private contribution has been made, the remaining $5 million of the bond may be used. The developer is Goddard Sports LLC, which is owned by Rodney Steven of Wichita.
A feasibility study about the additional fields and sand sports facility projects they will attract between 351,000 and 422,000 visitors per year; 36 percent of those visitors are expected to come from more than 100 miles away in Kansas, and 28 percent will be from out of state. The new ballfields will be smaller and geared toward younger athletes.
Upon completion and in full operation, the Phase II project is estimated to generate direct and indirect employment of 56 full-time equivalent jobs with an annual payroll of $1.9 million.
Mark Abbott, counsel for Goddard Sports LLC, said the “rousing” success of the existing ballfields in their first season this year, pandemic notwithstanding, was a factor in the decision to expand the project. In response to a question from the council, Abbott said construction of the hotel will begin in January. All steel for the vertical structure is onsite. The prebuilt first floor has been delivered to the site.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a donation of a four-acre tract of land in the Goddard Crossing Addition, located immediately north of the Orschelns store. The owner, Downtown Investments LLC, is making the donation to relinquish the tax burden. The mortgage on the property has been paid.
• Approved cleaning sewer lines in a portion of the city, from South Street north to US-54 Highway. Mayer Specialties is scheduled to do the cleaning from Jan. 4 to Jan. 12, 2021, at a cost of $19,715. This will return the city to a five-year rotation of cleaning all sewer lines in the city.
• Approved cereal malt beverage license renewals for the following businesses: Walmart, Pizza Hut, Goddard Sports LLC, Murphy Oil and Kwik Shop.
• Heard an update on the city’s snow and ice removal plans.
• Approved purchase of two new copy machines from ImageQuest at a cost of $12,616.14, for use in the police department and administrative office.
• Received preliminary information about the 2021 work plan, which will be discussed further at the Jan. 4 meeting.
• Held an executive session with the city attorney to consult on matters covered by attorney-client privilege.