CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Chesterfield supervisors have approved a decision to hand millions of dollars over to SportsQuest, a mega sports facility, still in the early stages of construction.
During a work session this afternoon, county leaders approved, with a 3 to 1 vote, investing 4.3-million taxpayer dollars in SportsQuest. This decision was made despite community pleas to wait hold off another 30 days. The investment in the private company means other park upgrades are now on the backburner.
Right now the only things visual about SportsQuest are the sketches, and more than 100 acres of dirt. But, it's enough for the county to envision economic success.
"It gives the entire age-range of Chesterfield County residents great access to our programming," said Dr. Steve Burton with SportsQuest.
A $4.3-million investment is split up into two segments. The first is a lease agreement. Chesterfield would rent 9 turf fields- that could only be used Monday through Thursday, two gyms and a 10,000 square foot senior center.
The second would boost economic development. The county would cover some construction costs, and five years down the road, the county would return real estate and sales tax revenue back to SportsQuest.
There are several stipulations to this public-private partnership. The county park projects would be on hold. Sports lighting and turf improvements on 4 existing fields at the Clover Hill Sports Complex, Huguenot Park and Tomahawk Middle School. The expansion of 2 school gyms would wait, and there would be no need to rent space for a senior center.
As an insurance policy for the multi-million dollar investment the county has come up with deadlines. This dirt must transform into those 9 fields by December 31. And by 2013- SportsQuest must created and fill 500 positions as well as invest $100-million into construction. If not the county can get it's money back.
"It's very easily achieved within that timeline," Burton said.
A public hearing on the county investing in this private company is not required.