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Sports complex will Significantly Raise Prices

Last year, the $43 million sports complex idea was dead on arrival, yet some in the Town of Normal keep trying to resuscitate it. There are many reasons why this project should not be pursued, but for now, I will focus on just the price of access.

Right now, municipal fields are free and program access costs are reasonable. These prices will have to increase significantly if a sports complex is built. Here’s how it works:

In the article, Normal Parks and Recreation director Doug Damery states that the proposed project “would likely force some sports programs to raise their own participation fees.” In the consultant’s report last year, an admonition was given that free access and below market-rate pricing would have to be eliminated in order to drive business to the new facility. Team memberships would rise significantly in price. Fields that are currently free would jump to $40 or $50 per hour. This is ironic since the consultants began their presentation by explaining how low-income youth are already at a disproportionate disadvantage in accessing recreational sports. They highlighted how lack of access to organized play is a significant factor for childhood obesity and disparities in achievement. This proposal would widen that gap and exacerbate the very problems the study decries. It makes no sense. Much more manageable and less risky opportunities already exist and are being pursued to serve the needs of our youth. A large, tourism-driven venue is not needed.

In short, our community is currently well served with what we have. Where aspirations are higher, progress is being made towards private ventures to meet those needs. By trying to reach outside for tourism, a sports complex would put an end to informal recreational facilities within our community. People at all levels would be forced to pay much more for the activities they are already pursuing and further stratification based on household income would be the result.

All this from their own data, yet somehow, they do not see it. This is why Normal needs better priorities. This is why I will be running again in 2021.

Campaign for Marc Tiritilli
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