The future of the McKinney Sports Connection is unclear following the city’s decision to approve a Plano Sports Authority facility in McKinney.
“I don’t think we can compete,” McKinney Sports Connection President Paul Anderson said about the planned opening of the city-approved PSA-McKinney complex in 2014.
Anderson said the future of his complex is unclear once the PSA facility is completed, saying he doesn’t know if there is enough room in McKinney for two indoor-sports complexes.
The McKinney City Council approved the construction of a 90,000-square-foot PSA indoor sports complex to be located at Gabe Nesbit Park in 2014 during its Oct. 15 meeting.
The facility, which received unanimous support from council, will be the fourth PSA facility in the area, including two already in Plano and a facility in Murphy scheduled to open later this week.
The projected cost of the complex is $9.7 million, with PSA requesting a $3.2 million loan from the McKinney Community Development Center, which it agreed to pay back 100 percent.
McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said PSA would begin to repay the loan once the city begins to allocate funds to the project.
Despite acknowledging his excitement for the youth of McKinney to have a facility, Anderson, President of McKinney Sports Connection since 2005, said he was “saddened” that Council decided to go outside the city for this complex.
The McKinney Sports Connection offers athletes the ability to play football, basketball, volleyball and many more sports, with the goal being to keep McKinney youths in McKinney, instead of having to travel to Plano to play sports. And that is exactly the reason Loughmiller said a PSA facility was approved for McKinney, saying a “significant” amount of McKinney youths use the PSA facility in Plano.
Loughmiller continued by saying PSA’s proposed structure would give McKinney residents the chance to play sports without having to leave McKinney.
Don Blackwood, General Manager of the Plano Sports Authority, said McKinney has always been on the PSA radar for expansion because of its location, size and number of youths. Currently, PSA has 6,000 registered users from McKinney city limits, Blackwood said.
Another key reason Loughmiller said council approved the PSA bid was how the proposal was structured.
Anderson explained that McKinney Sports Connection submitted its bid before PSA, noting the bid included the city be a grantor on the loan, the land itself and for the city to cover operational expenses, estimated at $500,000, upfront for the first year. McKinney Sports Connection’s proposal included a facility similar to the one PSA is set to build, Anderson said, measuring around 90,000-square-feet, and full of basketball and volleyball courts and indoor sports.
Blackwood said the PSA facility will support four seasons for basketball and volleyball, and two seasons of both flag football and soccer. The approved facility will also offer several levels of skill and training in the before-mentioned sports, and PSA is working with McKinney Parks and Recreation for outdoor-sports opportunities.
Loughmiller said PSA’s proposal was the best fit for the city, saying the city didn’t have to distribute any additional expenses.
“Other similar projects brought to CDC did not have the same business model and would have resulted in the city paying a portion of operating expense for a period of time,” Loughmiller said. “Ultimately, this was an opportunity to meet a community need through the private sector with little monetary investment of tax dollars, given that 100 percent of the funds from CDC are to be paid back in four years.”
The McKinney-PSA facility will be the second-largest facility owned by PSA, measuring between 86,000 and 90,000-square feet, smaller than the first PSA complex, which is 149,000-square-feet. The original PSA facility was originally constructed to fit an ice rink, but that space is now used for indoor soccer fields and flag football. Blackwood said the McKinney facility will be built with plans for a four-court expansion.
Loughmiller said the financial impact of the facility will be unquestioned, saying the CDC was created years ago to assist in measures just like these.
The approved facility will draw 1.5 million visitors a year at full capacity, Blackwood said. He added outside tournaments for national sports groups will draw thousands of visitors to McKinney shops, restaurants and hotels. He added the facility has already book one “large event” in McKinney for 2015. Not only will there be an impact through sales tax, Blackwood said property values surrounding the original PSA facility have been “positively affected” since its construction since 2002.
“Quality of life is important in property valuations by prospective buyers and PSA McKinney will be a significant contributor to quality of life,” Blackwood said.
Still, Anderson is confused to why McKinney decided to go outside the city for this complex, saying: “I really don’t know the thought process.”
Loughmiller said the city did not pursue the Sports Connection facility, explaining PSA approached the development center with this opportunity.
Loughmiller said he is not sure if the PSA facility will be used by the McKinney Independent School District, though. Anderson added that use by MISD was part of his proposal, noting that the option was available for MISD to use the facility as overflow for tournaments.
“I don’t know what their plans are,” Anderson said PSA’s relationship with MISD.
Blackwood did not mention any specific agreements with MISD, but mentioned the Plano facility hosts several Plano ISD events, and hires coaches from around Dallas-Fort Worth.
Anderson said McKinney Sports Connection wanted to keep kids in McKinney to play sports, giving them the opportunity to play sports no matter the financial or economic situation.
While Blackwood didn’t mention membership prices, he said the facility will offer full summer, spring and Christmas break camps with early drop off and pickup. He said this feature is in high demand for the single parent or a family where both parents work in the Plano facility, saying that PSA facilities average 350 youths each day in the summer for numerous sports camps.
When asked to respond to some McKinney residents who area frustrated that the city went with PSA for a sports complex, Blackwood said choosing PSA is “low-risk option” for McKinney, giving McKinney residents a closer option to play recreational sports in a state-renowned facility.
“PSA already has thousands of McKinney players enjoying youth sports with us,” Blackwood said. “They are driving up to 45 minutes to play in our facilities. Now, they will have a 10-minute drive.”
Construction is expected to begin January 2014, with a projected completion date of November 2014.