Delays cost sports complex a sponsor

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HAYDEN - The developers of a planned 80-acre sports-field complex in Hayden have seen a major investor in the project pull out because it's taken too long to begin construction.

Andy Barrett, a managing member of North Idaho Sports Complex LLC, said Tuesday the developers are waiting on approval of a special-use permit for the sports complex that would be located just off Huetter Road between Prairie and Hayden avenues.

"We're going to have to rely a little bit more on the community" to raise funds, said Barrett. North Idaho Sports Complex LLC owns and is developing the property, starting with a 40-acre first phase, which has an estimated cost of $1 million.

The investor who is moving on had been prepared to put $200,000 into the project, Barrett said.

"People are going to invest in a project, but if it keeps dragging on they're going to go on to the next project," Barrett said. "That's exactly what happened."

With the loss, the developers now need to round up $500,000 to cover the $1 million first-phase costs.

Barrett said the group's special-use permit application is likely to get a hearing soon with the city's Planning and Zoning Commission now that a required traffic study has been completed.

"We should be getting on their docket here pretty soon," Barrett said.

He said further fundraising is going to be difficult until the special-use permit is in hand.

Connie Krueger, community and economic development director for the city of Hayden, said Tuesday the city is waiting for the project developers to "submit some items before moving forward with the application."

Barrett said he appreciates the support of Hayden Mayor Ron McIntire.

Barrett said the developers have missed the fall construction window. They hoped by now to have laid down the four artificial turf fields that are planned for the complex.

He said construction now is targeted for spring. Any grass fields will take a year to grow and mature enough before soccer or football are played on them, he said.

Tony Norris, who became president of the Coeur d'Alene Sting soccer club this summer, said nonprofits like Sting have had to start paying to use school fields.

"We pay minimal" now, Norris said. He knows Sting is getting a good deal, but isn't sure how much longer that will last.

Based on what similar clubs are paying school districts in other cities, the cost is likely to go up, he said.

Sting also uses city-owned fields.

Sting would be one of the primary users of the planned complex. Norris said. Sting would only have to contribute to maintenance to use those fields, saving the club money.

The owners of the complex would make their money from concessions and from tournaments.

Norris said Sting club members have lost some optimism that the complex will be developed.

Barrett said his group has been trying for nearly two years to get the complex built.

"It's going to take some folks rallying," Barrett said. "Every day that goes by we lose a little bit more momentum."

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