Sussex County Council Votes to Move Forward on Proposed Sports C - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Council Votes to Move Forward on Proposed Sports Complex Funding

Posted: 12/05/2017 16:18:00 -05:00 Updated:

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- The Sussex County Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to move forward with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Sussex Sports Complex Foundation, who want to build a 57-acre multi-use sports complex in Georgetown.

The foundation previously asked for $1.5 million from the county in the form of a grant, but Tuesday's presentation had that tweaked to a 40-year, zero percent interest loan. The proposal also gives the county the option to take over the complex in five years and every year after that. Additionally, at the moment, the complex would not have to make any payments to the county the first five years, and after that, only on years where there are no losses and a contingency fund is at $400,000. Some on council questioned if getting the county involved in a parks and recreation role would be wise.

"I'm just wondering, are we making a mistake of reacting to an ask versus responding and thinking and planning for the long term here?" asked Councilman Rob Arlett. "I will be willing to move forward with the MOU to get to the details, but with grave concern."

Arlett did vote in favor of the MOU, as did Councilman I.G. Burton. Both men stated that they needed more information before a formal contract was signed.

"The devil's in the details and the details are in the MOU," Burton stated.

During Tuesday's meeting, County Administrator Todd Lawson said that the proposal terms could be changed before any contract was formalized, based on council members' thoughts and concerns. Lawson said it would take weeks to months to finish a contract. Those with the sports complex say they are optimistic.

"There will be some give and take on both sides to come to an agreement that works for everybody," Sussex Sports Center Foundation President Joseph Schell told WBOC. "But I feel very confident that this was the bigger step."

Councilman Sam Wilson was the lone vote against the MOU, questioning whether this was a good use of taxpayer money. 

For more on the proposed sports complex, click here

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