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Boaz mayor unveils ‘The Game Changer’

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 8:46 pm | Updated: 11:21 am, Tue Oct 2, 2012.

Boaz Mayor Tim Walker unveiled the vision for a major multimillion-dollar recreation concept during a public presentation Monday at Fielder Auditorium on the Snead State campus.

Titled “The Game Changer,” the 48-slide presentation detailed the project for an estimated 200-plus residents in attendance.

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  • BoazRes posted at 1:08 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    BoazRes Posts: 34

    I do not see why people do not see the jobs in this!!!! They will have to hire people to run it!!! People unemployed can get a job there... Or i can go work right down the road from my house in stead of driving to g'ville or gadsden to work!!! You people are crazy that are gripping about jobs.... The building itself will create at least 200 to build it... and then another 200 to run it... get real!! This is going to help boaz. Go on a summer day to the rec center now and see how many kids are there swimming... there are tons!! Some people dont go because of the lack of room. Tons of kids will go, and it will bring new people.

  • Buffalo posted at 6:44 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Buffalo Posts: 422

    Marshall County Economic Development Board is full of fools. Just FYI.

  • boaz resident posted at 9:13 am on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    boaz resident Posts: 53

    Thank you, Lionel green, I am still waiting for any info and/or answers about this consulting firm from some CEO friends I have in construction in that area. One answer I've gotten so far, is that they have never heard of this company before, and strange how they are located in Tampa Bay, yet have never done any business IN Florida. They might be great, honest, and fair priced, I just know from personal and professional experience that when choosing any company such as that, you must be very, VERY careful. Extra and hidden "fees" will pop up from out of nowhere once you sign them on, adding and adding and adding to the original bid they gave. Everyone is out to make money, but make no mistake, a lot of companies in this field, in that area of FL, are out to make as much as possible while doing the least amount of work. If they think they can come up here and dazzle a small town like this, then they can get that pot of gold they've been looking for. Just please do some more research on the matter, just the fact that major companies down there have never heard of them, is kind of a red flag to me, to begin with....

  • HogWash posted at 5:26 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    HogWash Posts: 154

    Well you can "turn laps" in any city in Marshall County, all have pools so does MMCS. All have tennis courts, gyms, all of the mentioned. Are you on the Board already? Where did the $40 fee come from

  • HogWash posted at 3:55 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    HogWash Posts: 154

    As long as Boaz goes Wet I could care less really. Go to the soon to be Ghost Town Park while I drink my beer and watch the Game.

  • John Thompson posted at 2:38 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    No offense HogWash but I didn't know anyone would go to lake Guntersville just to swim any more.All I see there is a large number of water craft and it"s kind of hard to enjoy those things in a lap pool.
    The last time I tried lap swimming in Lake Guntersville I couldn't even see the lane markers on the bottom.
    Someone told me that they didn't even believe they were down there.
    The membership dues will most likely be no more than $40 per month and you can swim there every day except holidays if you like.

  • HogWash posted at 2:17 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    HogWash Posts: 154

    Well lets see, pay $20 bucks to get into a swimming pool or Lake Guntersville for Free....easy choice

  • justsayno posted at 1:57 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    justsayno Posts: 27

    I too only want what's best for our community. That's why I think we should wait until we see the results of the study before passing judgment. If the study reveals it to be a worthwhile endeavor, I say we go all in and build it before someone else does. A facility like this would help tremendously in recruiting those desperately needed industrial/high-tech employers.

  • Mike Lockwood posted at 10:37 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Mike Lockwood Posts: 432

    John, You are absolutely right in that I want only good things for the people of not only Boaz but the whole county. I would love to see an aquatic center because I love to swim for hours, but I also know that a person has to be able to afford to own a membership at a place like that before he or she will spend their money on it.

    Hence, my comments on the need for high paying industrial or hi-tech jobs. By the way does anyone know anyone on the Marshall County Economic Development Board? If you do please ask them how many businesses they have contacted in Connecticut, so far.

    I would like to know if any of them are really trying, I mean really trying to get those needed industries or hi-tech companies here in the county. If they haven't spoken with any businesses in Connecticut then they are not serious about improving Marshall County's economic future!

  • John Thompson posted at 6:37 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    No offense taken from me Coach and I doubt that Mike took any either.
    Believe it or not, I think Mike and I are on the same side in that we both only want what is best for Boaz.
    If anyone takes offence with me or Mike for wanting that then they should find another town to watch the sun set from.

  • coachboaz posted at 6:34 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    coachboaz Posts: 14

    by the way i spelled everything right the dang keyboard just doesnt cooperate to

  • coachboaz posted at 6:28 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    coachboaz Posts: 14

    Dead on on part of that Mr Lockwood we do have ) tourism but what do we have to bring them in nothing no lake no shopping no more so why not give them a reason to come back to Boaz like they once did.and if you look south west norht and east there is alot of residence that would use this facitlity so why not try to get back to drawing people here instead of sitting on our dusting over buildings and watching them rot.It doesnt matter where you are in this country poverty is atleast 20% or more but someone close will take this idea and run with it i would much rather it be Boaz that does this instead of saying No without knowing all the facts non of us know all the facts yet thats why we are doing a professional study that is alot more accurate than any one of us can give.So open your mind listen then make a decision its way to early for anyone to make any kind of educated decision.

  • Mike Lockwood posted at 5:37 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Mike Lockwood Posts: 432

    Here is a feasability study for you.

    Boaz has zero tourism so no outside visitors to use the facility, not counting people within the county.

    Boaz has a population of approx 9500 people, the entire county has about 90,000 people of which over 20% live in poverty.

    Boaz does not have the jobs/wages paid that would support the local community in paying for the memberships needed to pay for the bond.

    Boaz Mayor estimates that the cost of buying the land, razing the buildings, and preping the site will be approx $20 million. How much is the estimate on building the actual buildings and swimming pool?

    Boaz and surrounding communities already have rec centers, swimming facilities, and gyms. What will Boaz do with their current rec center and what makes anyone think that as a fitness facility, that it could compete/draw members away from those already established facilities.

    The Mayor should focus on bringing in industry that will pay wages well above the minimum wage.

  • coachboaz posted at 4:58 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    coachboaz Posts: 14

    i wasnt attacking anybody with my statement there is alot of good debate going on with all 20 comment posted before i wrote this so if it offfended anyone i will appologize now it wasnt meant to offend anyone

  • coachboaz posted at 4:56 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    coachboaz Posts: 14

    So far Mayor Walker you and the council are on the right track with this idea.I have questions as well as many other folks but i applaud your effort in trying to put Boaz back on the map where we were years ago.I am going into this idea Opened minded i goto council meetings and i listen very close i dont always agree that they are right but i have found that they do their homeowkr very well before they agree to anything.Lets look at what we have now its an outlet center turned into a ghoste town and collecting dust.There is a good demand for aquatics in our area and an indoor controlled facility bingo we have a place.The money obviously is going to have to be explained and i am sure it will thats why you pay someone a fee to do a study its worth that no matter what they charge.Sometimes you have to take a chance to get somewhere and when you wait someone else will take the chance you didnt and prosper from it.People of Boaz take this risk everytime they send their kids of to college,i totally agree with going to college,but it is a chance just the same we are hoping our children get educated to get a decent job but not always does it work that way sometimes and there are plenty around Boaz that hold degrees that cannot find work for many reasons i know just being broad here.Mr Thompson i applaud you and anyone else who attended the meeting monday night i think everyone of the people of Boaz need to attend these meetings and go in open minded the concerns they have should be heard and answered then and i think only then should an idea be shot down.Right now the painting looks good and i do want to know alot more but i dont care who is doing the research or evaluations as long as the questions are answered then i will make my fianal decision.Koodos to Mr Walker and the rest that are involved in trying to improve our area keep the research going and just keep us truthefully imformed as i know you all will i have faithe because i know everyone of yall and us love our city and home Boaz!!!!

  • John Thompson posted at 4:18 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    Points well taken Mike, but the cost increase for the Super Dome was due to the foot dragging by the state legislators and about five years worth of inflation.
    that foot dragging also caused the first Super Bowl that New Orleans hosted to have to be played in the snow and rain at Tulane stadium.

  • WhyWhy posted at 3:49 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    WhyWhy Posts: 24

    Just build the aquatic center for the swim team and forget the other hogwash.

    Simple enough.

  • Mike Lockwood posted at 3:27 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Mike Lockwood Posts: 432

    John, When the Superdome In Louisiana was built it was supposed to cost approx. $47 million dollars. It came in at around $167 million.

    Are you telling me that the Boaz Aquatic Center is going to be only about half the size of the Elgin, Il. site? If so then why spend all that money on the outlets and just spend the $250,000 to buy the old rug factory site.

    The 185,000 square foot Elgin site covers about 4.25 acres so why buy over 20 acres with buildings that have to be destroyed?

    Also the fuzzy math is pretty fuzzy because last time I checked property taxes and other state revenues are used to pay for schools. So I don't see how anyone thinks an Aquatic Center gets built the same as a school or a utility.

    John in my previous posts I asked some pointed questions that should be asked and answered before the Mayor or the Council even thinks about paying some firm to do a feaseability study.

    I ask again do you know where the money came from to build the Elgin, Il site? I'll make it easy, it was funded by usage taxes off of the casino that Elgin has. That is how the building was paid for. Boaz doesn't have a casino to draw that kind of money from.

    Elgin has I-90 running through it. Boaz has HWY 431

    Elgin is surrounded by other cities with tens of thousands of citizens. Boaz has Albertville and Guntersville.

    Elgin has the industrial/manufacturing/wages to support a facility of this size Boaz does not.

    Maybe a much closer comparison would be a facility like the YMCA in Gadsden although I do not know if it has any conference rooms or banquet halls. On the other hand Gadsden has 4 times the population of Boaz so again more population to use the facilities/ pay off the bond.

    Fuzzy math like fuzzy info is BS. Someone has to be on the hook for the facility just as they were in Elgin or New Orleans.

    Again instead of worrying about a non-starter, in Boaz's current condition, and work to get some hi tech jobs or other industries that pay a lot more than the minimum wage. Then once those are in place, you work to bring the other stuff.

  • scoobydoo posted at 3:20 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    scoobydoo Posts: 7

    I don't live in Boaz but I do spend time and money there... you all are welcome as many others that don't live there either works or spends lots of money in Boaz.
    What I don't understand is 2.1 million for the Outler Center property.
    Will Boaz become a landlord for the remaining tenants?
    There is plenty of property all over Boaz that would cost much less and be just and convenient.
    What happens to the old Rec. Center?
    What will the yearly payment be on 40 million and how in the world can it produce enough income to pay it. There are no hotels for anyone who attends events to stay in.

  • John Thompson posted at 3:10 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    I was not comparing this to the Super Dome, only pointing out if the folks in Louisiana would have listened to enough Hog Wash it would have never been built.

  • HogWash posted at 2:34 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    HogWash Posts: 154

    You wanna compare a swim center to the SuperDome lol. You also are off your rocker

  • John Thompson posted at 2:33 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    Sorry Mike, I just googled Winston-Salem and it is twice as large as Elgin, but one of those YMCAs they have would dwarf this place and the other two plus the YWCA is about the same size as this.

  • John Thompson posted at 2:26 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    Mike, I know that you are not trying to argue so please don't think I am either, but I know that Elgin is about the same size as Winston-Salem NC and Winston-Salem has three YMCAs and a YWCA that boast the same type of amenities as the Elgin facility.
    The mayor said himself that if this study does not show that this facility can pay for itself, then he'll pull the plug immediately.
    We hired the same type of feasibility firm to look into forming our school system and I don't think anyone will complain about that cost.

  • Mike Lockwood posted at 1:59 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Mike Lockwood Posts: 432

    John, I hate comparisons because unless you use a very similar model there is no comparison at all.

    Do you know where the money came from to build the Superdome? It was funded by a bond purchased with state money; in other words taxes. Do you or anyone else honestly think the state of Alabama should/will go on the hook for tens of millions of dollars for a city of 9500 people to have an Aquatic Center?

    The legislature just had to rob the bank to pay for its budget deficits for the next three years. Do you or anyone else honestly think the state is going to shell out the money to fund this project?

    New Orleans has a population/industrial base/wage base/tourism to support a Dome. Boaz doesn't have any of these to support the building of an Aquatic Center.

    Elgin, IL has a population/industrial base/wages/tourism to support an Aquatic Center. Boaz does not.

    Please do not wax whimsical because there are no comparisons between the Dome, New Orleans, the Centre of Elgin, the city of Elgin or the City of Boaz.

  • John Thompson posted at 1:47 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    Also Mike, the overall cost of the project including buying the property, razing buildings and site prep is $20 million dollars.

  • John Thompson posted at 1:44 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    Mike. it is kind of fuzzy math, but the same as The Boaz City School System, The Boaz Water Board or The Boaz Gas Board are run, the city actually owns them, they are not on the note with them.
    This project will be over seen by the same type board of directors as an industrial development board, so before bonds are issued, they will have to present a plan as to how this facility will be self sustained.
    After the Jefferson sewer fiasco and the Fairfield water park disaster, these financial institutions will be very leery of lending the money if they don't think that if it is run correctly it will be successful.

  • Mike Lockwood posted at 1:18 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Mike Lockwood Posts: 432

    I hate to burst anyone's bubble on here so I'm going to play devil's advocate and say, I just don't see it!

    John, I didn't make the brief so please explain how the city of Boaz will not be on the hook for the expenses for this project. Saying it is one thing but showing it is another. I know the price of the property was listed in the story but funny it left out the cost of razing the current property and it left out the construction costs of the facility.

    Please tell us how this multi-million dollar facility will be built at no cost and no future debt to the city and it's citizens.

    Boaz-Rez 300-400 jobs? Really? Where did you possibly get that number? The Centre of Elgin only employs up to 250 people and most of those are part time.

    There are several other facts that I pointed out in my first post below. Funny how nobody cares to speak about those points.

    The fact is Boaz does not have the industry/wages, population, tourism, or neighboring communities to help pay the costs.

    Does anyone, including the Mayor, have a clue as to how the city of Elgin funded the building of their Aquatic Center?

    Did anyone at the meeting ask how much it would cost to Raze the current buildings?

    How about the cost to build the new "Game Changer"

    Please enlighten us because as I said..... I just don't see it.

  • John Thompson posted at 12:16 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    This project kind of reminds me of a project first conceived by a man named David Dixon back in 1967.
    He had visions of building a multi-purpose complex in a city with a population of about 300,000 people that would carry a price tag of between $50 and $100 million.
    Needless to say he was met with a ton of opposition but won the support of the governor who in turn was able to pass by the narrowest of margins through the senate and house the selling of bonds to build it.
    Today when The Mercedes-Benz Super Dome, formerly the Louisiana Super Dome host a major sporting event there is an economic impact of close to a half a billion dollars.
    This complex will never host the Super Bowl, but will no doubt be looked back on 50 years from now as one of the greatest things to have happened to this area.

  • lionelgreen posted at 11:26 am on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    lionelgreen Posts: 3

    I added the name of the Clearwater, Fla., consulting firm [The Sports Facilities Advisory] to the web-only story above to answer boaz resident's comment below. The complete story will be in the Thursday print edition and include all the details. Thanks.

  • John Thompson posted at 10:31 am on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    John Thompson Posts: 405

    I was in attendance at the presentation last night.
    One gentleman made the statement that we need to "live up to our dreams and not play down to our fears".
    Another thing the mayor pointed out is that the citizens of this town are a family and this family wants to build a house and he asked, do the family members believe we can pay for this house.
    I think it is more like this family is building a business rather than a house. This business will provide jobs, entertainment and an economic cash flow.
    I can tell you who will spend a lot more time determining if our city and surrounding community can support this project. It will be the banks who buy the bonds.
    If I walked into the bank and asked for loan to build a $1 million house the bank president would call for the men in the little white coats to come and escort me away, but if the CEO of a large company asked the same bank president for the loan, he would try and wrap the deal up as quickly as possible before someone else took his business away with a better offer.
    I can assure you all that if we do not build this thing, Guntersville will.
    It's a win, win situation because we, the citizens will not be on the hook for the money.

  • BoazRes posted at 9:59 am on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    BoazRes Posts: 34

    This is AWESOME!! Anybody that doesn't agree is crazy!! I see 300-400 jopbs at a glance. Pre-school teachers, swim teachers,life guards, janitors, cooks for catering and cafeteria, dance teacher, climbing teachers, supervisors, bookkeepers, secutaries, day-care, personal trainers, refs, swim teams, summer camp leaders, caterers.... all while making boaz better. The income pays for itself!!! DO IT!!.

  • bamagirl1 posted at 9:22 am on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    bamagirl1 Posts: 19

    Kudos to mr. walker. this is a great thing. Give people a reason to want to come to this area. It will be used by everyone .Give local people and kids a place to have fun and summer jobs also. You have to have change for things ot grow and the way it has been Boaz has had nothin to offer. Now if the city will just go wet to get Boaz on the uphill to bigger and better things

  • boaz resident posted at 12:23 am on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    boaz resident Posts: 53

    I want to know who the "planning consultant" in Clearwater is. I want his name. Chances are, I know him and most of the guys in clearwater are nothing but hacks that charge so much for nothing, his fees will end up coming close to the price of the property itself.

  • HogWash posted at 11:19 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    HogWash Posts: 154

    Has the man gone completely Nuts

  • Mike Lockwood posted at 11:07 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    Mike Lockwood Posts: 432

    Instead of wasting money on a feasibility study just give it to me because I already see huge problems with this plan:

    "A similar example of the recreation presence that Walker envisions is in Elgin, Ill. Called The Centre of Elgin, the facility is 185,000 square feet with three full-sized basketball courts, two racquetball courts, a pre-school wing, meeting rooms and a banquet space for events.

    Elgin has a population of over 109,000...... Boaz barely over 9,500. In fact our entire county has about 15,000 less of a population than the City of Elgin.

    Elgin has several cities within 5 to 10 miles with populations between 22,000 and 74,000. Boaz has Albertville and Guntersville with a combined population of maybe 30,000.

    Elgin has a casino that brings in millions of visitors. Boaz has...........

    Elgins schools employ more people than the top three employers in all of Marshall County.

    By the way 185,000 square feet is only around 4.25 acres.

    The Centre of Elgin cost over $41 million dollars to build

    A platinum membership at the Centre of Elgin costs an individual $720 if he or she is a resident $865 for non-residents. That allows that person unlimited access to everything at the Centre. The lowest membership fee costs over $200 and gets a person unlimited use of the aquatic center and the track.

    So basically if every person living in Boaz; that's every, man, woman, and child, bought a platinum membership every year for 15 years the bond would be paid for.

    As I said before, the only way any city could support this is if that city already had large or many businesses in place that are paying much more than the minimum wage. Otherwise there is no way the City of Boaz could possibly pay for this center.