Sports complex question: Where will funding come from to finance, sustain — who will be taxed?

To the editor:
I attended the Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 State Boundary Commission hearing held at A Place In Time regarding the proposed sports complex to be located between N. Main St. and Buckhorn Road. My opinion is that it is the wrong location choice. I live on Buckhorn Road (North Portage Road) and do not look forward to the increased traffic, not only on that road, but the side-streets that will most certainly be used. Furthermore, until I know the long-range financial plan, I believe this item should be “shelved.”
Is taxation on Three Rivers City residents and businesses intended, (or county-wide taxation intended), should not this be a ballot item so the people have a voice in the matter?
I have not seen in print a “financial plan” for sustaining this project. Which brings me to the following:
1. County donated $2.8 million toward this project
2. Being built to provide a place for ALL, including county towns, AYSO and other traveling sports leagues.
3. Mayor stated the city would develop and maintain the sports complex.
The following questions beg to be answered:
1. Is this a “county park” — hence the $2.8 million donation from the county treasury?
2. Will there be City taxes levied upon Three Rivers residents to support this project for the use of “visitors”?
3. If for county-wide use, is there a plan for ONGOING county-wide financial assistance?
4. What plan is in place for sustaining on an ongoing basis?
a. Will there be a gate fee for spectators?
b. Will there be a league fee for usage?
c. SHOULD THIS ISSUE COME BEFORE ALL THE PEOPLE FOR A VOTE?
My opinion is a resounding YES!!
5. Concession stand — Will a “manager” be “hired” (how paid) to manage?
6. Bathrooms — Who will maintain, clean, turn water on, off, lock up, etc.?
7. Fields
a. Who will mow, trim, mark the fields (baseball, soccer and football fields)?
b. Who will manage equipment (soccer nets, markers, etc. etc.)?
c. Who will provide this equipment and storage and maintain?
d. How will these persons be compensated?
Our mayor declared after receiving the $2.8 million from the county that “our city will develop and maintain this complex.” I understand that mowing of our city parks has been privatized and we no longer have “spring clean-up” because of cost-cutting measures. Most recently the city received a grant to help rejuvenate Memory Isle Park. This was a beautiful addition in the 1980s, but the absence of maintaining, pruning and trimming has allowed the saplings to grow at random and mature so that the park is hardly visible from the road. Please explain to the residents of the City of Three Rivers how and why we should assume more maintenance responsibility (approx. 80 acres) when we have had to forego city services in other areas.
Some have argued that the building of 100 or so new homes would also add to noise and added traffic, etc. The difference is this: they would be taxpayers supporting the City of Three Rivers or Lockport Twp. Rather than print architectural concepts of field designs, please publish the long-range financial strategy that will sustain what you have proposed. And then allow the citizens of Three Rivers, Lockport Twp. or the entire St. Joseph County see it on a ballot as an option, if we are indeed, going to be taxed.
Tracy Miller
Life-long resident of Three Rivers

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