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SGF Sports is planning a $10 million-$12 million development in northwest Springfield.
SBJ file rendering
SGF Sports is planning a $10 million-$12 million development in northwest Springfield.

City Beat: Council prepares infrastructure funding for sports complex

Agreement to reimburse developer up to $2.1 million for public improvements in northwest Springfield

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Springfield City Council is finalizing an infrastructure reimbursement agreement for a planned youth sports complex on the northwest side.

The agreement with developer SGF Sports LLC would commit the city to reimbursing up to $2.1 million for public infrastructure improvements at the site located just west of Deer Lake Golf Course. Council is set to vote on the agreement March 8.

SGF Sports is registered to Tulsa, Oklahoma, developer Rob Phillips of Philcrest Properties, according to Oklahoma secretary of state records. Project architect Rob Haik, principal with H Design Group LLC, previously told council Phillips plans to invest $10 million-$12 million on the project. Phillips owns 120 acres next to Deer Lake, Haik said.

At council’s Feb. 22 meeting, Springfield Economic Development Director Sarah Kerner said the proposal asks the city to reimburse up to $2 million for the improvements and up to $100,000 for interest costs.

The youth athletic complex was brought before council last year with a proposed budget between $15 million and $20 million. Council passed a resolution in November signaling intent to help the developer with funding public improvements, and staff was directed to submit a development agreement.

The plan calls for 12 soccer fields, including one turf championship field, outdoor seating for 1,500 spectators and a 90,000-square-foot indoor complex. The indoor center would have two soccer fields and four basketball courts that can convert into eight volleyball courts.

The developer must build all of those elements, as well as permanent lighting for the outdoor fields and a parking lot with at least 720 spaces, to receive the reimbursement funding, according to city documents.

Reimbursable public infrastructure improvements include off-site road and sidewalk improvements, on- and off-site sanitary, water and gas main extensions, a regional retention basin and associated design and permitting fees.

The proposal requires the city and developer to establish a community improvement district for the area, including a site for future retail and hotel development. A 1-cent sales tax would be imposed to reimburse the city for its expenses.

To meet obligations in the agreement, the developer must construct the public improvements, handle the annexation and land use process for the site, cooperate in establishment of the CID and obtain written approval from the Springfield city manager before making any changes to the development plan, according to city documents.

The project, including public infrastructure and the private development, must be completed by March 31, 2024, or the agreement would terminate. The reimbursement would be paid after full completion of both elements of the project.

Businessperson and philanthropist Bobby Allison has pledged between $3 million and $3.5 million for fields and signage with naming rights, according to past Springfield Business reporting.

The property also is making its way through the city’s annexation process. At its Jan. 15 meeting, council approved an annexation and rezoning of the land to highway commercial.

West Sunshine development
Council unanimously approved a preliminary funding agreement for development of about 26 acres at West Sunshine Street and James River Freeway.

The mostly vacant land is located at 5505 W. Sunshine St. at the northwest corner of the intersection, adjacent to Cox Roofing Co. and across Sunshine Street from a youth baseball complex and The Barn House Event Center.

The funding agreement begins the process of a potential development by West Sunshine Development LLC, registered to Mike Seitz of Triple S Properties Inc.

When the agreement was introduced at the Feb. 8 council meeting, Kerner said the intent is for the developer to deposit funds to be used for the city’s legal fees while pursuing economic development incentives. According to city documents, West Sunshine Development would start the account with $15,000 and replenish it as needed.

According to the ordinance, the developer requested the city consider preparing a tax increment financing plan and review other incentive tools to assist the funding of public infrastructure. Seitz did not return calls for comment by press time.

Bill documents stipulate that any prepared TIF plan or other incentive would go through city processes, including public hearings and consideration from council and the city’s TIF Commission.

Second reading bills
• Council members unanimously approved an ordinance accepting the dedication of public streets and easements within the preliminary plat of three lots dubbed Mercy Fremont Acres on South Fremont Avenue. The preliminary plat, filed by property owner, St. John’s Regional Health Center, dba Mercy, on Dec. 7, 2020, spans 17 acres at 4431 S. Fremont Ave. The proposal turns the existing lot into a three-lot subdivision in order to facilitate development on the property, according to city documents. Two lots are home to a Mercy clinic and its College of Nursing and Health Sciences, while an 8-acre lot is undeveloped. The intent is to develop it, according to the preliminary plat engineering report. Following council’s approval, the preliminary plat is active for two years during which time a final plat must be submitted.

• Council also unanimously approved an ordinance for a one-lot subdivision at 1720 W. Grand St. dubbed Kansas at Grand Phase 2. The city accepts public streets and easements in the preliminary plat, which was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 14. The application was made by landowner College of the Ozarks. The preliminary plat creates a one-lot commercial/multifamily subdivision on 13 acres on West Grand Street surrounding a former Price Cutter store, according to bill documents. The grocery building was purchased by Jordan Valley Community Health Center in December to open a clinic. The corner acreage was donated to College of the Ozarks in 2012 while Price Cutter continued to own the building, according to past reporting.

• A rezoning of 1.3 acres at 2832 E. Sunshine St. to an office zone with a conditional overlay district from single-family residential was approved in an 8-1 vote with Councilmember Mike Schilling voting in opposition after trees were removed from the property. The rezoning was requested by 2832 E. Sunshine St. LLC, according to bill documents. Developer Curtis Jared, president of Jared Enterprises Inc., said there are no current development plans, but he wanted to rezone it to start the process.

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