Hurricane tests feasibility of regional sports complex

HURRICANE – In Hurricane City Council meetings for the past few months, Mayor John Bramall has been excited to talk about the proposed Hurricane Regional Sports Complex, which, if it comes to fruition, would be built near Sand Hollow Resort and be owned by Hurricane City. A few weeks ago, Hurricane Regional Sports Complex Executive Director Scott Raine issued a press release announcing a feasibility study, to be completed by March, to assess if such a facility would make sense.

The study, headed by Victus Partners with help from Elliot Workgroup and St. George-based Alpha Engineering will “assess the economic feasibility, along with determining specific needs for expanded outdoor sports facilities” in Hurricane, the press release noted.  

“This is the first step to create a multi-sport facility designed to help meet the needs of local sports organizations, but also to serve as a facility which will bring large scale sports tournaments and special events to Southern Utah,” said Bramall, who would be chairman of the facility, in the release.

According to the release, Dixie State University and the Washington County School District have expressed interest in the facility and REAL Salt Lake would be interested in order to generate more interest in soccer.  Even the Seattle Mariners have expressed interest in using the complex in their developmental activities, which is one point Bramall has been happily touting.

“The feasibility study will research and report on all sports related facilities – current and planned – located throughout Washington County,” the release explained. “The St. George Area Convention and Tourism office and the newly formed Washington County Sports and Outdoor Recreation Office have both stated that such a facility can be a major benefit to bringing new forms of visitors to the region, resulting in a positive economic impact through increased demand for hotels, restaurants and other visitor related business.”

The feasibility study also seeks public input, especially from local families regularly involved in sporting events, through completion of an online survey at:

Hurricane City Council members recently voiced their input on the possibility of the complex as well.

“The major benefits of having a sports complex is that it not only allows us to have more fields and courts for our locals to use, but depending on the quality of the facility we can attract national groups, tournaments and professional teams to our area,” Councilman Darin Larson said. “This can be a great thing to help our economy and also provides a stimulus to get other businesses and restaurants to consider Southern Utah and Hurricane in particular as a destination point.”

Echoing Larson’s sentiments, both new City Council members, Cheryl Reeve and Kevin Thomas, said having more ball fields in Hurricane would be advantageous because it would mean less driving to Washington and St. George for games.

“The Sand Hollow area would be a centralized and beautiful location,” Reeve said. “The Southern Parkway loop would add to the benefit of the complex, bringing carloads of players and spectators over the new road. It could be the best place in Utah for spring and fall and even summer sporting.”

Thomas said he believes such a facility would lead to greater cooperation with the county and other municipalities throughout the county.

Even with the potential benefits, City Council members also see potential snags with the project.

Larson believes one of the challenges with the project will be gaining cooperation between all of the different governmental, public, and private entities involved, including the Bureau of Land Management, the School Institutional Trust Lands Administration, Hurricane City, Sand Hollow Resort, Washington County School District and private citizens. He said it would be difficult to get all the organizations on the same page.

Another concern for all three council members is affordability.

Will it make a profit or will it cost taxpayers every year?” Thomas asked. “Not being a fortune teller, I’m not sure that a feasibility study company can even accurately predict that.”

Another potential stumbling block could be the opinions of the complex’s neighbors, Reeves and Thomas said. Reeves said Dixie Springs and Sand Hollow residents could be opposed to the increase in traffic the facility would inevitably cause as well as the possible nuisance of lighted fields.

Reeve said she anxiously awaits the results of the study, asking herself and her colleagues, “Is Hurricane ready for such an ambitious project?”

“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Reeve said. “I’m going to do a lot of listening and learning about what it would really take.”

City Council Business

In its regular Thursday night meeting, the Hurricane City Council approved amendments to the 2015-2016 budget, which included add-ons to fund such things as the feasibility study for the Regional Sports Complex, airport fencing, work on the animal shelter building and bonds for the new parking lot across the street from the Community Center, Dixie Springs Park, and Grandpa’s Pond Park. The amendments also included money for a revolving loan fund to finance some public works projects and equipment replacement.

The council approved an ordinance abandoning a portion of 2170 West just north of 100 North for a realignment of the road to take out a curve.

Several real estate projects also received go-ahead from the council, including a preliminary plat for Hinton Estates, a nine-lot subdivision located at approximately 1130 South and 700 West, a zone change from MH/RV to R-1-8 for Sage Pointe Subdivision Phases 1 and 2 and lots 24, 25, 31-A, 31-B in Green Acres North View Subdivision, a lot line adjustment between lots 4 and 5 in South Orchard Estates and the final plat for a subdivision, known as “My Subdivision Phase 2,” just west of the corner of 400 West and 650 South.

In the council and staff portion of the meeting, Larson mentioned that the Hurricane City Recreation Department is reviving the Hurricane Half-Marathon, slated for two weeks before the St. George Marathon. Part of the course for the half-marathon will be on the Sand Hollow Golf Course’s back nine, Larson said. The Recreation Department will also host a triathlon in June that will include a triathlon for children.

Larson also announced that a tile company which originally planned to move into the former Brentwood Bowl building will now set up shop in the old Chums building, which will generate a few jobs for the community.

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