Mayor Staci Mitchell.jpg

The West Monroe Board of Aldermen voted this week to authorize an agreement with a Florida company that could be paid as much as $650,000 to coordinate the opening of indoor sports complex championed by Mayor Staci Mitchell.

Last month, the Board of Aldermen chose Lincoln Builders of Ruston to build the $18-million sports complex featuring indoor courts to host tournament sports in the hopes of boosting tourism—and sales tax revenues.

During its regular meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen authorized Mitchell to negotiate an advisory services agreement with the Clearwater, Florida-based Sports Facilities Management LLC for “pre-opening planning.”

“We are looking to consult with them to help make sure the design and everything with the Sports Complex is done in the right manner,” Mitchell said. “They have opened over 50 facilities. They are the No. 1 company of this sort.”

Sports Facilities Management would be responsible not only for consulting on the facility’s design but for finding corporate sponsorships, securing advertising, staffing, all procurement matters including the purchase of equipment, seeking public input, and more, according to Mitchell and West Monroe attorney Doug Caldwell, who serves as the city’s legal counsel.

After the meeting, Mitchell said Sports Facilities Management could be paid 3.5 percent of the project’s total cost.

“We’re still negotiating,” Mitchell said.

When asked, Mitchell said the company could be paid an estimated range of $600,000 to $650,000.

“This is so important because you get only one chance to open it right,” Mitchell said. “The amount would be paid over the year and a half until the complex opens.”

The proposed indoor sports complex could host major sporting events such as basketball, volleyball and more.

On another front, the Board of Aldermen authorized consulting city engineer Robbie George to submit applications for several millions in state funding to complete several sewer and water projects across the city.

The city would apply to the 2021 Water Sector Commission’s program as well as the 2021 Sewer Sector Commission’s program, each of which are funded through the state, according to George, with the Monroe engineering firm, S.E. Huey Co.

The city’s water sector program application could require as much as a $1.5-million local match while the sewer sector program application could obligate the city for as much as some $3 million as a local match.

Mitchell noted that American Rescue Plan Act funds could be used as match money, if the program administrators and state Department of Health deemed the city’s request worthy of funding.

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