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MEDFORD, Ore. – The City of Medford is proposing to build a sports and events complex at the intersection of Ross Ln. and Rossanley in west Medford.
According to a 2018 statistically valid survey, 83% of residents support construction of a new community aquatics facility.
The proposed Medford Sports and Events Complex would be 163,380 sq. ft. 72,920 sq. ft. of that would be pool space. The complex would include a competitive pool, a recreational pool with water slides, an outdoor seasonal splash pad, 8 basketball courts, 16 multicourts, space for presentations and space for an exhibit hall.
The space would be used to host tournaments for basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and swimming, among other indoor or year-around sports.
“That is super beneficial, especially to have those facilities available all in one spot,” said Jennyfer Stillman, a parent and Superior Stingrays Swimming Booster Association Board member, “there is a separate swimming area for people that just want to lap swim and where they can do lessons so those needs will not be in competition with the teams practicing in the competition pool.”
The City of Medford does not have an indoor public swimming pool.
“The sports complex is something that we really need,” said Bruce Hovet, the general manager at Rogue Regency Inn, “we have one leaking pool right now.”
The Jackson Aquatics Center is an outdoor pool built in 1960 and according to the City of Medford, it has reached the end of its lifecycle and doesn’t meet the needs of the community.
The projected facility would cost between $56.9 and $60.7 million. In the complex’s plan it states four munching mechanisms. A two percent increase to the Transient Lodging Tax (TLT); expanding the Airport Car Rental Tax to apply citywide; a $2.40/month increase to the Park Utility Fee (PUF); and early repayment of a U.S. Cellular Community Park construction bond.
Hovet, says he doesn’t expect any negative impact from an increase to the TLT.
“It would go from 9% to 11%,” said Hovet, “you travel to any major city and it’s more than that plus you’re paying $25 a night for parking so I don’t see how it would have any impact whatsoever.”
The Park Utility Fee was last adjusted in 2007 to fund the construction of U.S. Cellular Community Park. At that time, it was adjusted by $2.56/month and it is currently $2.95 total.
“The Park Utility Fee is a fee that appears on people’s monthly utility bills,” said Rich Rosenthal, Medford Parks and Recreation Department Director, “$2.40 per month is what was in the proposal. I know the City Council would have to approve that and they’re looking at ways to try to minimize the impact to Medford residents.”
The Medford City Council would decide on the exact amount for the Park Utility Fee following the results of the May 2020 election. In May, voters will choose whether or not to approve the Transient Lodging Tax.
In my previous report that aired on NewsWatch 12 at 5:00 on Feb. 25, I stated that the City of Medford owns the Howard Memorial Sports Park, which is the proposed area for the construction of the Medford Sports & Events Complex; that is incorrect. The Wes Howard Memorial Sports park is owned by Howard Memorial Sports Park Inc., a non-profit. The conditions to use the land for the construction of the Medford Sports & Events Complex will be disussed between the Howard Memorial Sports Park Inc. and the City of Medford in March.
-- Alicia Rubin