City supports moving forward on regional sports complex; funds for Tuacahn

Hurricane City Council, Hurricane, Utah | stock image, St. George News

HURRICANE – The Hurricane City Council unanimously approved moving forward on the initial stage that could lead to a new sports complex within the city limits and also pledged continued financial support to Tuacahn Center for the Arts in its meeting Thursday evening.

Sports complex

The proposed Hurricane Regional Sports Complex, which would be constructed near the Sand Hollow Resort, has been brought up by Mayor John Bramall in previous City Council meetings but had never been discussed thoroughly until Thursday’s regular meeting.

The draft of a request for qualifications disseminated by Scott Raine, executive director of the Hurricane Regional Sports Complex, the nonprofit organization behind its development, said, “There is a need for a new regional sports complex in Washington County to meet the needs of the local population and to be an economic driver by bringing an increased number of sports tournaments and athletic special events to the area.”

Raine attended the meeting seeking the council’s support to move forward with a feasibility study to find out “if the project makes sense.”

Dixie State University and Washington County School District, which owns some of the land on which the project would be built, are on board with the project, according to the request for qualifications and Raine.

Funding for the facility would come from a variety of sources, Raines said, including the Utah Legislature, the Washington County Commission, portions of the Recreation, Arts and Parks, or RAP, tax revenue, and private donors, including Real Salt Lake, Raine said.

Mayor John Bramall said the Washington County Water Conservancy District has agreed to waive the $2 million impact fee for the project.

City Councilman Darin Thomas said the complex would help make Hurricane more of a destination than just a place visitors pass through on their way to somewhere else like Zion National Park or the Grand Canyon.

The council unanimously supported moving forward with the feasibility study for the project.

Tuacahn

Jeff Fisher, executive director of development for Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Ivins came to the meeting seeking Hurricane’s financial support of the performing arts venue. He said Tuacahn is the second biggest economic driver in Washington County next to Zion National Park. According to a 2013 projection, Tuacahn generates approximately $75 million to Washington County’s economy, more than numbers 3-10 on the list of economic drivers, which account for $72 million.

Fisher said 96 percent of Tuacahn’s revenue comes from ticket sales with only 4 percent coming from external sources. While he said he is proud of that fact, Tuacahn is currently initiating a campaign to raise $9.5 million to construct a new arts center, which will mainly serve as a place for performers to rehearse out of the heat during the summer, and ticket sales will not fit the bill. The campaign’s funds will also pay for some deferred maintenance, including seating, stage and roof replacements.

Tuacahn is seeking approximately $450,000 in support per year from Washington County’s municipalities for the next 10 years to cover a $6 million bond to round out the campaign, Fisher said. The lion’s share of the requested funding will be coming from the county itself, Fisher said. Specifically, Fisher asked Hurricane City for $10,000 per year, partially from its portion of the RAP Tax.

Councilwoman Pam Humphries, admitting she is a frequent attendee at Tuacahn shows, said she would rather spend the $10,000 Fisher was requesting on recreation and parks projects within the city, including the community center and the proposed regional sports complex discussed earlier. Humphries said she wanted to see more proof that it would directly benefit Hurricane before she committed to it.

In the vote for approval, Humphries was the lone dissenter.

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2 Comments

  • Forsooth August 21, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    “Hey, look! Other people’s money!” (sound of toilet flushing) “What fun!”
    -Every politician ever

  • Dexter August 21, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    LOL.! Mormon city council members to steal tax payer money for Mormon. Project and after its all done who’s Mormon pocket will get the remainder of the stolen tax payers money go into.?

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