By Meg Moss
Where do I spend 14 -16 weekends per year? Out of town. That’s where. At sports complexes. This is where my son and his 12 teammates join with hundreds of other athletes and their families to participate in competitive travel baseball. So where does that mean I am spending money on those weekends? Out of town. Hotels benefit from my family of six, as well as restaurants. After a long day of playing, watching, and waiting, the whole team and their families are hungry! We often travel in large groups to local restaurants. We travel to Rocky Mount, Snow Hill, Goldsboro, Roseboro, Fayetteville, Clayton, Wake Forest, Asheboro, Tarboro and more.
On your ballot this fall, you will see a 2020 Parks and Recreation Bond Referendum. This $25M project is the culmination of many years of research and studies. A vote in favor of this bond will allow our Commissioners the opportunity to build a Sports Complex when the time is right. A portion of the property for this Sports Complex is being donated to the County. However, if the bond does not pass this year, this property will most likely not be available in the future.
Many of you know that Lee County’s existing sports facilities are lacking in the number of available fields. Each week, my husband, who is a recreational and travel baseball coach, is competing for field availability. And it is not just about baseball. There is only one regulation soccer field in the whole county. There are no places for our myriad of outdoor club sports programs to host tournaments.
The youth sports business is a multi-million dollar industry. Many places, such as those listed above, have proven that a large multi-sports facility not only meets residents’ needs and improves quality of life for everyone, but also drives the local economy. Outside money from tourism is pumped in, supporting hotels, restaurants, and local businesses, as well as driving up home values and bringing in new businesses.
This Bond referendum represents a .04 per $100 of assessed property value tax increase. However, this assumes no growth in our tax base. If you have been following the announcements from the Sanford Area Growth Alliance, you know the $750M in investment from companies coming our way, and the many rooftops coming that will all have to pay taxes. Our tax base is definitely growing, more significantly than at any time in our history. So, a vote for this bond referendum is a vote for our kids, our businesses, our property values and our community pride, but it is not a vote for a tax increase. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle can see the long-term benefits of this plan.
Give Commissioners the opportunity to do this for the county when they know the time is right. They have seven years to begin once the bond passes and can do so when it makes sense for our citizens. So, when you go vote, flip that ballot over and be sure to answer the last question with certainty that the Lee County Parks and Recreation Sports Complex bond referendum will be of benefit to our youth, our citizens, and our business owners.