Building a regional recreation/sports park in the north county will cost over $30 million.
“Full construction of the park, you’re looking at around $30 million, plus or minus,” Woolpert Design’s Andrew Pack said in an update to members of Lancaster County Council at their meeting on Monday, October 10.
The Woolpert Company has been selected to design and develop the masterplan for the 85-acre park, which will be adjacent to the Roselyn development along US 521 near the North Corner area.
The Council approved the preliminary master plan, but there is still a lot of work to do before the project can be launched.
The first phase of construction could begin next fall.
“I’m excited to know where we are and what we’re going to be able to build,” said Steve Harper, chairman of Lancaster County Council.
The master plan recommended by Woolpert includes a 15,000 square foot multipurpose gym/indoor meeting center, pickleball and basketball courts, maintenance area, pavilion/picnic area, playground and wading pool, four multipurpose sports fields, restrooms and concessions, a small amphitheater, a complex of four baseball/softball fields, up to 900 parking spaces, and a network of hiking trails that wind through the property.
The idea for the regional park grew out of a 2015 study by Clemson University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Based on the opinions of 200 local participants, the researchers recommended that the county’s top tourism priority be a large, centrally located resort for recreation and other public events, with the ideal location being near the US 521 corridor between Lancaster and Indian Land.
Last year, the county paid $2.3 million for nearly 85 acres for the Roselyn Sports Complex, a 2,000-home subdivision and commercial development that Lennar Carolinas is building on US 521 between Shiloh Roads Unity and West North Corner. At the time, the appraised value of the property was $2.5 million.
The council is also considering purchasing an additional 20 acres of property for the park, but nothing has been finalized.
The goal is to design park amenities around the existing topography to leave as much green space and open space as possible, said James Mann, landscape architect/phase manager of Woolpert.
“You have parks within the park,” Mann said. “We tried to design all of these amenities to support all-day types of events.”
One of the baseball/softball fields would also be a full size college baseball park with covered seating and other amenities.
The county is working on a proposal with the University of South Carolina to make the recreation park the official home of the USC Lancaster Lancers. Harper said USC agreed to pick up $850,000 from the cost of building the college baseball field.
County Councilor Billy Mosteller noted ample parking is a must.
“You have the USCL using land up there and you have big crowds,” he said. “You have all these ballparks playing and all these football fields having weekend tournaments, bringing in a lot of people, it’s going to take up a lot of parking. Every day isn’t going to be busy, but the weekends will be really heavy.
A more expensive option includes a 50,000 square foot multi-purpose recreation center with an indoor running track, instead of the 15,000 square foot facility included in Woolpert’s recommended master plan.
The 15,000 square foot facility sits near the front of the 85-acre lot, but the 50,000 square foot facility would be located near the rear of the property.
Another option the council will consider is to add a disc golf course along some of the walking paths.
The larger facility and disc golf course, Mann said, will increase the cost beyond the estimated $30 million.
“These are new options that we haven’t presented before,” he told the board. “Therefore, we can bring back more data. I think that’s something we wanted to explore a bit more.
Councilor Charlene McGriff liked the proposed master plan, but said the county council needed to consider the overall cost.
“Every time we add something optional, we need to know what it’s going to cost,” she said.
The sports complex will be funded by the county’s 2% hospitality tax levied on prepared meals, beverages and alcoholic beverages served by restaurants, as well as deli meats and ready-to-eat foods sold in grocery stores. .
The hospitality tax was passed in June 2016. The county has about $7.2 million in hospitality tax revenue and collects about $2 million each year, county chief financial officer Veronica said. Thompson.
“We were planning to tie some of that to our revenue stream,” Harper said. “We need an update before we start our wishlist.”
County Councilman Allen Blackmon also wants to know what the cost to the Department of Parks and Recreation will be to run the facility, as well as the potential cost of the county’s liability for the wading pool.
“From my car insurance, if I want to pay less, I drive a Toyota Corolla. If I really want to increase my costs and overhead, I drive a 700 horsepower Corvette. I just want to know that,” he said.