Noblesville approves revised preliminary agreement for $15M fieldhouse project

The Noblesville City Council approved a preliminary agreement for a proposed fieldhouse Tuesday night, but the financing deal is quite different than what officials initially announced.

The $15 million Noblesville Fieldhouse being developed by Klipsch-Card Athletic Facilities LLC would include five hardwood courts for volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, futsal and pickleball; 75,000 square feet of turf for baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse; concession stands and medical training. noblesville fieldhouse 1000px

The 130,000-square-foot fieldhouse would be located on a 10-acre property within the 200-acre Finch Creek Park on Boden Road.

Klipsch-Card Athletic Facilities, which is led by Andy Card and Mike Klipsch, initially planned to pay $1 million for the city-owned property, but the price was reduced to $500,000, or $50,000 per acre.

The city had also said it would contribute up to $800,000 annually for the fieldhouse operations and would have the ability to rent the facility to the public during weekday hours. Noblesville had expected rental fees could generate $300,000 per year that the city would use to pay for its annual commitment to fieldhouse costs.

But now the city will only pay up to $550,000 per year for 20 years and will no longer rent the space or share rental revenue. Residents of Noblesville will receive a 25 percent discount for use of the facility though.

Klipsch-Card will pay for all of the operating costs and will pay $300,000 in annual property taxes. The city will use the $300,000 in property tax revenue and $250,000 in tax-increment financing dollars to pay for its yearly contribution.

The developer also has an option to purchase up to an additional 10 acres for seven years. Any land purchased before Jan. 1, 2019 would be sold for $70,000 per acre.

In additional to the annual financial contribution, the city will pay for $4 million in infrastructure improvements. According to the project agreement, the work would include extending water, sewer and electrical services to the park boundary, making improvements to Boden Road and building a detention pond and stormwater infrastructure.

City officials said most of the work would have to be completed for Finch Creek Park, regardless of whether the fieldhouse was built.

The park is expected to include multi-purpose athletic fields, baseball/softball fields, outdoor courts, trails, playgrounds, shelters, an outdoor events area, a nature center, dog park, open space for disc golf and a skating area once built out.

Phase one of park construction, which could cost up to $9.7 million, would include a playground, splash pad, three shelters, restrooms, basketball and pickleball courts, parking lots and utilities.

The city plans to pay for phase one with $2.5 million in impact fees, $500,000 from the sale of the property for the fieldhouse and $6.7 million in bond proceeds. The $9.7 million in funding would cover $4 million in infrastructure work the city must complete as part of its agreement with Klipsch-Card Athletic Facilities.

The Noblesville City Council narrowly approved the initial plans and funding for Finch Creek Park on Tuesday with a 5-4 vote. Council members Mary Sue Rowland, Mark Boice, Rick Taylor and Brian Ayer voted against it.

The council also approved the preliminary agreement with Klipsch-Card on a 6-3 vote Tuesday night. Boice, Ayer and Rowland opposed it.

Before the vote, Boice argued that tax dollars needed to be allocated toward other road improvements that don’t have funding, like widening Olio Road to four lanes.

“I look at our city as a house, and we have a foundation problem,” Boice said. “We have a crumbling infrastructure with our house… and we’re not addressing that.”

Other council members argued that the fieldhouse will attract other restaurants and hotels that will generate more tax revenue the city doesn’t currently have.

“I think you need to look at more than just this,” council member Roy Johnson said. “You can’t isolate this project.”

A more detailed agreement must be submitted within 40 days and would need to be approved by the council.

Construction on the fieldhouse is expected to start in summer 2017 and should be complete and in use by summer 2018.

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