Ante up for the arena - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Ante up for the arena

NIC wants to ask LCDC for $10 million

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Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - If a sports arena is to be built, it would need $10 million from Lake City Development Corp.

North Idaho College representatives told LCDC Thursday that they need a nod of financial support from the urban renewal agency before the college pursues plans to construct a multi-million dollar sports facility at Riverstone.

The college's desire for the project is there, but not the financing. And without the agency's support - up to $10 million, college officials said - the project is likely dead.

"If we can't get LCDC to support it, this probably isn't going to work," Ken Howard, chairman of the North Idaho College board of trustees, told the agency during LCDC's strategic planning session Thursday at the Kroc Center. "We need LCDC's help for a bulk of the cost."

Planning sessions occur when LCDC outlines long- and short-term goals for the next fiscal year. The agency kept familiar topics, like education, public space and job growth, on its list, but couldn't commit specifically to the arena.

Not yet, anyway.

"Maybe with our help they can pull this off," said Brad Jordan, LCDC member. "We know in some fashion we can help. We just don't know how much."

The agency has said recently it would be willing to explore the feasibility of bringing a sports arena to town. In 2008, it helped pay for a consultant study to explore the very topic. On Thursday, it said it would have to review its finances inside the River District - the urban renewal boundary in which Riverstone sits - before it could be willing to nod unofficial support NIC's way.

Unofficial support would mean, after more project planning, NIC would go to the agency in September or October for an official financial request.

The sports arena has been a topic for years. NIC said it could cost around $15 million to construct and purchase the land in Riverstone. The land is pegged to cost around $2.5 million while construction would cost around $12.5 million.

A conceptual design for the arena - which could also host trade shows and concerts among 75 or so events a year - was drawn up about two years ago by Coeur d'Alene architect Chris Patano.

Riverstone developer John Stone said he received three bids on the design, and all three bids came in around $12.5 million. That's under the $25 million to $35 million estimate the Minnesota-based consultant, Conventions, Sports and Leisure International, estimated a structure to cost five years ago.

But that study also said the arena could pump approximately $7 million directly into the economy every year - double that if you calculate indirect economic benefits - said Joe Dunlap, NIC president.

"We continue to send events across the border," he said of losing events to Spokane.

About $5 million would come from fundraising, and another $5 million would be an endowment fund for operating costs, totaling $20 million for the estimated arena cost. NIC has said it can't contribute much financially because it has higher capital priorities, such as building a new professional-technical education facility. NIC would have schedule priority for the arena.

NIC's existing indoor athletic facility, Christianson Gymnasium, was built in 1949.

"Most high schools have a better facility than what NIC has," Dunlap said.

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  • concernedcitizen posted at 3:04 pm on Sun, Apr 28, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    Just wait. They will figure out a way to saddle it on the backs of the taxpayers like everything else.

  • whatwillbe53 posted at 10:21 am on Sun, Apr 28, 2013.

    whatwillbe53 Posts: 178

    What happened to the baseball stadium?

  • jmowreader posted at 9:00 pm on Sat, Apr 27, 2013.

    jmowreader Posts: 1495

    Spokane replaced an 8,000-seat arena with a 12,000-seat arena in part because the 8,000-seat arena wasn't large enough to draw top-name acts. A 5,000-seat arena might draw bands on bar tours, but come on: the real impetus behind doing this is to replace Christianson Gymnasium.

    If NIC wants to have all the amenities of a four-year college, they need to petition the state legislature for permission to become one. And then they need to fund this project the way four-year colleges fund sports stadiums: ask their booster clubs.

  • Mary Souza posted at 11:59 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    Mary Souza Posts: 814

    Voxpox, you wrote "NIC can't just willy-nilly sign up the taxpayer to pay for this without a vote".

    Have you forgotten that they raised our taxes and spent $10 million for the land near the sewage plant without a vote of the people?

  • I Carry posted at 8:48 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    I Carry Posts: 559

    NIC states they "have desires." Shucks, I have desires too. Maybe LCDC could fund some of mine also. Possibly the school could focus the students more on "schooling" then tattoos and ipads.

  • Sheeken Hunter posted at 7:57 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    Sheeken Hunter Posts: 183

    LCDC, LCDC. That is all I hear about anymore. Why doesn't the Press call it like it really is? NIC needs $12 Million from YOU, YOU, and YOU. The money does not come from the fruits of labor of LCDC. The money comes from YOU, YOU, and YOU. I agree that an arena would be nice, but the question is: Do YOU, YOU, and YOU want to pay to pay to build an arena and keep its doors open? If YOU, YOU, and YOU want to that is great. But don't give YOUR right to say how YOU, YOU, and YOU want your tax dollars spent.

  • LTRLTR posted at 7:51 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171


  • mister d posted at 7:35 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Oh no (groan).

  • DeNiles posted at 7:24 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    If such a venue was economically feasible (as in good business) they'd have no problem in obtaining private sponsorship. But it isn't, any more than John Stone's goofy Riverstone housing concept. Why CdA allows these people to play with our tax dollars is the greater question. They are guessing and if they had to use just their own $$$$$ would not proceed one step further. So why should we?

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:40 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    This is just another way for the powers that be to take from the $30K - $40K a year average wage earning taxpayer and give to their wealthy developer friend of Riverstone.

    These people have no shame.

  • voxpop posted at 5:58 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    A sports stadium is NOT what people consider a capital construction project for colleges. Particularly a JUNIOR college, This entire concept is obscene. A taxpayer funded school has absolutely no business, much less right, to even feel the need to build a sports stadium - OR to spend a dime operating it. The good thing is that NIC can't just willy-nilly sign up the taxpayer to pay for this without a vote. Even just considering this should be enough to recall each and every NIC trustee.

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