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Soccer field move could be put on hold; town looking for new football league
The Flower Mound Town Council on Monday said more information is needed before making a decision about possibly selling the land at the Chinn Chapel Soccer Complex and then finding property elsewhere for another complex.
Council members had considered such a move earlier in the year to give the town a soccer complex more centrally located -- the existing location is at the intersection of FM 407 and Chinn Chapel Road -- as well as to possibly have a complex with more fields.
Council members also saw the move as an opportunity to turn the existing soccer field property into a retail area to bring more tax dollars to the town. Should that happen, the net income is expected to be about $300,000 a year.
The complex sits on 15.8 acres and includes five full-size soccer fields, a parking lot of 408 spaces, an irrigation system for the grass, a maintenance facility, a concession/restroom area, a pavilion and a playground. When the complex was constructed in 2005, it cost $3.2 million.
If the sell of the property takes place, it would go on a ballot for an upcoming election. An ordinance calling the election would need to be approved by Feb. 4 to go on the ballot for the May 11 election and by Aug. 5 to go on the ballot for the Nov. 5 election. There would be an extra cost of $5,000 for it to go on the ballot for the November election.
But Monday, council members were concerned about the cost of replacing the complex with the same amenities somewhere else, which the town staff estimated to be about $6 million.
"I want to see something more concrete first," said Mayor Pro Tem Kendra Stephenson. "Where is it going to be moved to? We need to see if there is even any interest in the property. There are too many unknowns right now."
One issue the council had was the difference in electrical costs between 2005 and the 2013 estimate. It was about $685,000 in 2005, and the 2013 estimate is $1.7 million.
Chuck Springer, the town's interim town manager and chief financial officer, said the $1.7 million estimate was conservative because it isn't clear whether the new facility would be close to utility areas.
Councilman Bryan Webb said he would like to investigate the estimates further.
"I'm OK with pushing harder on the rough estimate numbers to see where we can get it to," Webb said. "But until we get that number down, I can't move forward with it."
Stephenson said she isn't sure that this is at the top of the priority list, especially since there hasn't been interest in the existing property. She suggested putting the issue on the agenda for the council planning session in January.
Town to look for another football league
Springer told the council that the town has sent a 30-day termination letter to the DRIVEN youth football league because of the decline in participation.
DRIVEN began in 2008 and was founded and operated by former Dallas Cowboys lineman Tony Casillas.
After the 30-day period, the town will send out a request for proposals in January and will interview representatives from different leagues in February. Once selected, the town staff will develop an agreement with the new league, which will be voted on by the Parks, Arts and Library Services (PALS) Board and the town manager by April.
DRIVEN was under the Flower Mound Youth Sports Association in its first year, with 270 players participating. Because of the first-year success, the town and DRIVEN entered into a facilities usage agreement in 2009 that was set to run through May 31, 2014.
Flower Mound officials said the participation dropped to about 200 players in 2011 and about 160 in 2012, which wasn't enough to field enough teams in each age division. Only two upper-age teams had enough players this fall, and they had to play in a league with a nearby city.