The Springfield District 186 board of education is expected to vote on a non-binding letter of intent with the developers of the proposed Scheels Sports Complex at Monday's meeting at 6:30 p.m. at 1900 West Monroe Street.
The board is considering a property tax abatement on the 95-acre complex planned just off MacArthur Boulevard near Interstate 72.
The land where the developers want to build the fields generates $4,500 a year in property taxes, of which District 186 gets about $2,600.
The carrot for the school district?
The district would get a "preferred rate" for use of the complex's full-sized indoor basketball and volleyball courts and synthetic turf multi-purpose fields, which will be under a dome.
Under the letter of intent, the district would agree to spend a little over $100,000 per year in gym and field rentals, amounting 2,160 hours of use annually.
Jason Wind, the executive director of school support, has talked to the developers about space needs, particularly for middle school athletics, especially baseball and softball, along with basketball and volleyball. The conversation bridged over to high school sports, Wind said.
In addition to using the complex as a practice facility, schools could play games there.
"One of the things stated in the LOI that made me feel more comfortable is that there is a concrete thing we're getting in return for our abatement," said Superintendent Jennifer Gill at the Aug. 1 board meeting. "Another entity that wants to build on Veterans Parkway can come and say we want to build could come and say we want to an abatement, but it's something we wouldn't get any direct benefit from for our students.
"This is different. We are getting the 'preferred rate,' and opportunities to have fields that we do not have at this time."
The sports complex could spur other development in the area, from which the district could benefit in boosted property taxes, though its property line is right up against the Ball Chatham District line.
The letter of intent is a 10-year agreement between the district and the developers, after which terms could be renegotiated.
A more formal agreement would be subject to a vote at a Sept. 6 meeting.
Steve Luker, the managing partner with the Legacy Pointe Development Company, said he still hoped to move dirt on the complex by September.
The complex is expected to host 60- to 100-team tournaments on weekends, generating some 250,000 new visitors along with about $30 million in new spending annually, local tourism officials have said.
Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, email@example.com, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.
This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Springfield District 186 to vote on agreement for Scheels Sports Complex use