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Posted: 02/05/14

Potential athletic bond could
include other facilities

Observer Staff Writer
      School board members agree that more information and community input is needed before any decisions on a possible athletics or facilities bond can move forward.
       At the Feb. 3 Board of Education meeting, Board Vice-president Chris Giancarli said an initial meeting with Washington Township and Total Soccer about partnerships in a sports complex created more questions than answers, but a meeting on Feb. 10 will hash out more details.
       "We both have a lot of homework to do about understanding our financial arrangements, their financial arrangements," he said.
       Washington Township bought 200 acres of land at 30 Mile Road east of M-53, and is developing a recreational facility on it that would include pools, gyms and other amenities. Total Soccer has purchased 80 acres of that land to create a sports complex, including 21 soccer fields, a lighted turf field and possibly a 5,000-seat stadium. Washington and Total Soccer approached the district to see if it was interested in utilizing the facilities as a partner.
       Giancarli said given that the school district has some of the worst athletic facilities in Macomb County, the partnership is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to shape athletics for Romeo.
       "This isn't just a decision over the next one or two years, where financially it's a little bit of money here it's a little bit of money there, it's really saying what are we structuring athletics to look like in this part of the county in our district probably for the next 20 years," he said.
       He said at this point the district's involvement is to seek a bond issue that would fund any agreements or partnerships. He said Athletic Director Greg Brynaert is providing a list of games, practices and other uses for facilities, while the business office is examining the financial portion.
       Trustee Chris Young said more research is needed, but a future bond could be for more than athletic sites. He said the district should look at the possibility of having facilities for non-athletic events such as graduation.
       "We have discussed a possible facilities bond, not just to get a new field," he said. "We're not just looking at a new football field, we're not just looking at just new sports facilities, we're looking at the whole district."
       To have a bond issue on the Nov. 2014 ballot, the district would have to notify the state no later than May.
       Residents cautioned the board to do their research on a possible bond issue. Ed Risch said the board needs a lot more information as well as community involvement before any bond issues would be approved by residents.
       "To me, you don't have a bond issue unless you know what the heck you're going to bond," he said.
       "From what you guys have been talking about here tonight, nobody is sure what it's going to take."
       Board President Ed Sosnoski said the district will do its due diligence with any agreements or bond issues, such as with subcommittees and community surveys to gather input.
       "We're going to make sure we do an intelligent job on this," he said.
       School administrators have reported that revenue would be shared with all stakeholders if a stadium is constructed.

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Retrieved 8/3/2015 at 4:37:09 AM.
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