The Etowah County Mega Sports Complex Authority on Wednesday authorized its chairman, treasurer and secretary to take financial action to put funding in place now to complete the pitches in time for fall football.
The authority plans to borrow enough money to complete the fields and pay off its current debt to BBVA – to consolidate its debt, President Ralph Burke explained.
He said the authority was discussing funding with two competitors after a number of banks said no. Local banks, he said, have loan limits.
This funding, totaling around $ 9.7 million, will take 45 to 60 days, however, and Burke said the authority is soon to put soil on the pitches to prepare for fall football. .
He said the authority would need a $ 1.5 million bridging loan, to be repaid when the other funding arrives.
The interest rate on this loan will not be attractive – 20 to 30 percent, Burke estimated. “We will have to pay $ 10,000 to borrow $ 1.5 million,” he said.
Authority member Craig Ford said when the authority receives a letter of intent regarding funding, the sod will be ordered and delivered, along with an invoice of around $ 1 million.
“We have to ignite the powder,” said Burke.
Authority member Randy Vice said he spoke to someone interested in a tournament at the resort in February, and there were other inquiries as well.
Treasurer Hugh Miller said the authority will need to have a reserve account of $ 588,000 in lieu of a bond as part of the larger funding agreement. He said it could be an interest bearing account.
Burke said he believed the authority could likely move on to a surety for the loan after about 12 months and release that money.
Otherwise, work continues on the site. The authority expects the water to be turned on Wednesday, and kitchen equipment for the concession stand is expected soon.
Ford said Milam Construction’s work is 98 percent complete. He said it was nice to work with the company – fixing a small issue that arose at his expense and waiting for some of the work to be paid.
Rainbow City was able to work on the road to the sports complex earlier than originally planned, and it is partially scratched. Ford said he didn’t think the road would be paved, but to him it looked like a mixture of plants on the surface.
Vice, also a member of Rainbow City Council, said the town had improved its paving plan, but the final paving work was not completed. He said the final work will be done when there is less heavy equipment and construction travel on the roadway.
The road – connecting Lindsey Street and Kinzie Lane, which connects Alabama Highway 77 and Lumley Road – is the first new road built in Etowah County in about 30 years, according to authority member Jeff Overstreet.
In addition to providing access to the sports complex, Rainbow City officials are hoping the new road will ease traffic around Rainbow Middle School and John Jones Elementary School, both located on Lumley Road.
Rainbow City built the road and purchased approximately 10 acres of property adjacent to a complex property for potential development.
Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or [email protected]