It was the answer London’s Optimists were hoping to hear.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the Community and Protective Services Committee, councillors gave their support to a pitch from the group for $800,000 in funding to help bankroll the expansion of the BMO Centre.
The soccer facility, which was built in 2011, has been running at capacity for some time now and the Optimists want to add two additional fields in time for next winter, an ambitious project that would cost around $7.8-million. The expansion would add around 70,000 square feet of space to the existing facility.
“There are lots of reasons to support this, especially just in terms of a good investment for the city,” said Councillor Jared Zaifman.
“Specifically, there are development charges, potential sale of the land, increased taxes that are going to be coming to the city, additional tourism dollars, or just tourism in general, bringing people to the city, and also to make sure we continue the active and healthy lifestyles that we want to encourage in our city.”
The city would collect up to $700,000 in development charges, along with $80,000 in building permits. Annual taxes for the centre would increase around $30,000 to $100,000.
The city invested $500,000 into the BMO centre when it was originaly built, with a price tag of $14-million.
If the project goes forward, the City would be able to sell off property with a soccer bubble on Cuddy Boulevard that is currently rented by the Optimists as they’ll no longer need the extra space. That property is valued at $572,000.
The proposal for funding still needs the support of full council.