OGDEN -- The city's administration wants to extend the life of Business Depot Ogden's economic development project area by up to five years to generate $15 million in tax increment for construction of a multipurpose field house.
Continuing the BDO project area beyond its 2019 expiration date would provide the single largest source of funding to repay construction bonds for the field house, estimated to cost as much as $40 million, according to a Weber County RAMP grant application submitted by the administration.
A proposal calls for the field house to include a 60,000-square-foot indoor water park, Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, running track and velodrome on about 5 acres in the southwest section of 24th Street and Kiesel Avenue.
A portion of Grant Avenue would be closed between 24th and 25th streets, and most of the buildings between Grant and Kiesel would be demolished. However, the historic Browning, Kiesel and Berthana buildings would be preserved.
The Ogden Redevelopment Agency collected about $4 million in tax increment from BDO's economic development area in fiscal 2010, which represents about 75 percent of the proceeds generated, said Richard McConkie, the city's community and economic development director.
The remaining 25 percent of tax increment is distributed among various taxing entities in Weber County, he said.
The Ogden RDA uses its share of tax increment to pay for road repairs and other infrastructure improvements at BDO, which should be completed by 2019, freeing up proceeds for the field house, said Mayor Matthew Godfrey.
An extension for BDO's economic development area would have to be approved by six of the eight members of the Ogden City Redevelopment Agency Taxing Entity Committee.
The committee includes representatives from the city, Weber County, Weber School District, Utah state Board of Education and smaller taxing entities.
The Ogden RDA board, made up of the city council, would also have to approve extending the life of the BDO economic development project area.
The administration's RAMP grant application does not indicate how much tax increment taxing entities would give up if the project area is extended.
Even though entities would temporarily forfeit tax increment, those amounts could ultimately be offset and surpassed by taxes generated by downtown development sparked by the field house, McConkie said.
The administration also is seeking $4.8 million in RAMP grant funds from the county payable over the next five years.
Grant funding comes from a tax approved by Weber County voters in 2004 that allows the county to impose a local sales tax of one-tenth of 1 percent, which is 1 cent on a $10 sale, to improve recreation, arts, museums and parks.
The RAMP Board will recommend in late February which projects should be funded, and Weber County commissioners will make a final decision in March.
The administration's RAMP grant application also indicates the city intends to obtain $10 million from private donors and $2 million from Weber School District.
The Weber district's Board of Education has not formally discussed or committed money for the field house, said Michael G. Jacobsen, the district's superintendent.
"We don't have $2 million to give," he said. "We haven't had that conversation."
Brent Richardson, president of the Weber district's Board of Education, said he has discussed with Godfrey the possibility of the district financially supporting the field house in exchange for free use of the facility.
The project is worth considering by the district because it would cut the amount of money spent on renting pools for swim teams at Bonneville, Fremont, Roy and Weber high schools, Richardson said.
"We would be foolish not to look at partnerships," he said.
The city's administration also plans to seek $2 million from Weber County for improved parking associated with the field house, Godfrey said.
The county has not committed any funds for the project, Weber County Commissioner Jan M. Zogmaister has said.
The administration's RAMP grant application also indicates the city would kick in $3.2 million for parking. Improvements could include adding decks to an existing parking garage on Kiesel Avenue behind the Ogden Eccles Conference Center, Godfrey said.
The RAMP grant application also states $1 million would be sought from other unnamed sources.
Weber State University would not be asked to contribute money but would assist in fundraising, Godfrey said.
A feasibility study completed by Cleveland-based Hotel & Leisure Advisors has recommended that the field house be managed by a private firm and not the city.
Hotel & Leisure Advisors is solely a consulting firm and does not operate facilities like field houses.
The city's administration has not contacted any companies about potentially managing the field house, Godfrey said.
The feasibility study estimates the management company would be paid about $185,000 during the first year and about $270,000 per year after 10 years.
Field house revenues during the first year are estimated at $6.1 million, while expenses are estimated to be $6 million for a net revenue of about $76,000, the feasibility study states.
The city administration has established a website for the field house project at www.ogdenfieldhouse.com.
This topic is being discussed at The Weber County Forum.