Sussex County Council Approves MOU for Georgetown Sports Complex - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Council Approves MOU for Georgetown Sports Complex

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 4:15 PM Updated:

GEORGETOWN, Del.- The Sussex County Council has paved the way for a $1.5 million loan to a proposed sports complex in Georgetown.

The council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to enter a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Sussex Sports Center Foundation, which originally asked the county for a grant. After some debate and changes, County Administrator Todd Lawson presented the new MOU Tuesday morning.

In the MOU, 60 percent of the project will be covered by the foundation, with the remaining 40 percent coming from public funds. The county will give the foundation a $1.5 million, 50-year loan at zero percent interest, with no payments required the first ten years. Additionally, the county will have two spots on the foundation's fifteen person board, and have a lien on the Sand Hill Road property. 

The sports complex will be over 50 acres and contain eight fields, a 3.1 mile trail and three pickelball courts. Under the agreement, the county has the option to take over the property in ten years, something that was a determining factor for some council members who voted in favor.

"It could be a template for future public private partnerships when it comes to recreation," said Council Vice President George Cole. "As this population grows, there's demands for these facilities and this may be the most responsible way to do it." 

Councilman I.G. Burton and Council President Michael Vincent also voted in favor, with Councilmen Rob Arlett and Sam Wilson opposing. Arlett clarified that he was not against the project as a whole, but rather the process.

According to the MOU, the foundation must raise $1.5 million on their own before receiving the county loan, something that foundation Vice President Bobby Horsey said they'll happily get on.

"Today is going to start up a journey for Sussex County and it's going to be great," Horsey told WBOC.

Horsey called the sports complex a true parks and recreation project. 

"We are going to do just enough tournaments to balance our budget, but we aren't competing with private sectors," he explained. "This is something for all of Sussex County to enjoy and that's what our hope is."

"The winners in this are not our foundation or Sussex County Council, the winners are the people and children of Sussex County who want to get out and exercise more," added Foundation President Joseph Schell. 

Schell also said the project will bring much needed improvements to the area as well.

"It's going to improve the intersection down there at Route Nine and Airport Road," he told WBOC. "Our project helped provide some donated land that [DelDOT] will need to expand that intersection and we were happy to do that."

Now that the MOU has been approved, the county will draft up a legal contract between the county and the foundation.

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