$16 million in debt approved to pay for Warren County sports complex

The Warren County Board of Commissioners took the last step this morning leading to the county port authority issuing up to $16 million to cover development and the costs of financing the Warren County Sports Park at Union Village.

Last Tuesday, the commissioners agreed to pledge the 3 percent lodgings tax, as well as 1 percent recently added, to fund the 109-acre sports complex, off Ohio 741 and Greentree Road in Turtlecreek Twp.

RELATED: Warren County ups lodgings tax to pay for sports complex

This morning, the commissioners unanimously voted to support a cooperative agreement through which a trustee will manage payments on the bonds issued for the project, expected to mature on Dec. 1, 2042, and to pledge the lodgings tax to pay for the project.

“We’re ready to move forward,” said Martin Russell, deputy county administrator and director of the county’s port authority. “Thank you for your confidence.”

The port authority will turn over operation of the sports complex to the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Two turf fields could be ready for next season, the remaining grass fields for the 2019 season, according to estimates.

The sports complex is one piece of a series of proposed developments that could result in a 1,400-acre multi-generational community, eventually with 12,000 residents and attracting $1.5 billion in private investment.

RELATED: 12,000 residents, $1.5B in investment expected at Union Village

The Union Village development is owned by Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices and includes its main retirement campus off Ohio 741, south of Springboro and west of Lebanon. The land for the sports complex was transferred from Otterbein to the CVB, as part of negotiations leading to the Union Village plan.

This morning, Russell indicated 20 agreements were included in the master agreement approved Monday by the port authority, a county financing agency created by the commissioners, for the financing of the sports complex.

Just under $15.7 million is to finance the project, with additional funds to cover the costs, including a $150,000 payment to the port authority for administrative fees at closing on Oct. 4.

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There was no discussion this morning by the commissioners, who insisted the sports complex land not be owned by the county.

The state law enabling the additional 1 percent in lodgings tax was amended to allow the port authority, rather than the county itself, to own the sports complex.

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