Pinnacle Bank Sports Complex still searches for additional funding

Local4 News at 6
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 10:03 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - While Kearney is making progress on their sports complex, Grand Island is still waiting, and officials said a stalemate in legislature is causing the hold up. Pinnacle Bank Sports Complex Board Member, Brad Bauer said they are actively looking for funding sources for this project.

The venture has seen its fair share of twist and turns. Starting with an unsuccessful attempt to acquire COVID-19 grant funds, which they hoped were going to be a big part of the project’s financing.

During this past legislative session they were looking to get sales tax funding. Bauer said the second half of the session slowed to a crawl and the incentive they needed didn’t make it to a vote. It got to the legislative committee, who looked at different options but chose not to package it into one of the larger bills. Now they have raised $9 million, but need quite a bit more to continue forward.

“The other thing we’re doing right now is we’re exploring different methods of financing it and have had a lot of discussion and interest in foundations that are looking to help youth organizations in particular in greater Nebraska,” Bauer said.

Bauer said they’ve had discussions with foundations about how they can provide interim financing for the construction phase, long term grant, and financing. He said that could be enough to get the project going and stabilize it going forward. He believes along with the Mormon Island-Camp Augustine merger this will greatly benefit the city. Adding, Grand Island needs this project because the youth sports industry is exploding.

“There’s a need for one in particular right now in Greater Nebraska,” Bauer said. “There’s a lot of young athletes traveling from Ogallala, North Platte, Scottsbluff there’s a need for that, but along with that the economic impact that these could have for the city of Grand island is just dramatic.”

Bauer said along with an economic boost, it would give athletes from Nebraska more exposure. According to the Sports Events and Tourism Association, in 2021 youth sports generated $91.8 billion across the country, which resulted into 635,000 jobs, and a total tax revenue of $12.9 billion for local economies which could be huge for the city of Grand Island.

“If your kids are the age of youth sports associations you spend a lot of time doing that and that is a real trend where cities and communities that have complexes such as this are able to draw those families for extended period times for tournaments and it’s an important part of the future of tourism,” said Brad Mellema, Director of Grand Island Tourism and Visitor Center.

Brad Bauer said they’re advancing talks with several foundations which could lead to other financing options.

“We’re also experimenting and looking at exploring the option of going to a nonprofit type organization that would own it,” Bauer said. “That would open up some financing through the Small Business Administration and some other forms of financing.”

Bauer said that option would help fill the gap between money raised, grants they might receive from foundations and what it would take to start construction.