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Abilene Reporter-News (Texas)


The Abilene City Council on Thursday will vote on a lease agreement with Abilene Youth Sports Authority and issue $1.67 million in matching funds and services for a youth sports complex at Nelson Park.

The agreement would be a 40-year lease for 14.61 acres within the park for the sum of $1.

The council will meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at City Hall, 555 Walnut St.

The city agreed in March 2016 to lease property to construct a youth sports facility.

The city agreed to participate in site and infrastructure improvements needed for the project with cash and in-kind contributions of up to $1.67 million.

AYSA successfully has raised funds to construct the facility and provide an endowment for maintenance and operations, according to city documents.

In March, AYSA Executive Director Jon Smith said the group was close to its $11.5 million fundraising goal to fund a fully-equipped facility with a $1 million endowment.

Smith said at the time that AYSA hoped to have full funding in May, with groundwork expected to begin as early as July. Construction is expected to take 12 to 14 months.

The facility would allow more children to play in leagues and programs while offering new sports, seasons and events that do not currently exist in Abilene.

"The facilities will have space, courts, and room for thousands more of our kids to get involved locally in leagues, camps and clinics," Smith said in a March 1 Reporter-News story. "Even our local families, (those) playing in tournaments, won't have to travel as much."

The 55,000-square-foot facility would feature four full-sized basketball courts, four youth basketball courts and eight volleyball courts.

Improvements by the city would include water and wastewater infrastructure, gas and electric utility extensions, and improvements to landscaping and irrigation, parking lot and lighting, sidewalk improvements and stormwater improvements.

The $1.67 million commitment is part of a proposed $12.7 million in projects to be funded, pending later council approval, by certificates of obligation.

Those projects include more than $10 million for a new law enforcement center, water utilities, municipal court and marshal offices, and records storage.

In addition, $800,000 will be used for improvements for Griffith Road.

The council will vote to authorize issue of certificates of obligation at its June 14 meeting, with funding received during the middle of July.

In addition to projects funded by certificates of obligation, which do not require public approval, the council will also an additional $5.23 million in general obligation bonds for projects approved in the 2015 bond election.

About $4.73 million of those funds will be used to conduct work on Corsicana Avenue, Hartford Street, Leggett Drive, North First Street, and Vogel Street, with $500,000 in matching funds for Abilene Regional Airport FAA grants.

The $1.67 million in certificates of obligation for the AYSA complex requires a public hearing under IRS regulations because the beneficiary is a nonprofit entity. That hearing will be scheduled for the May 24 council meeting.

Because the city will need to expend funds prior to the bond issuance, the council will approve a resolution Thursday allowing the city to reimburse itself when bonds are issued.

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April 24, 2018


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