WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Fort Madison Asking County To Up Donation

Apr 18, 2012

The city of Fort Madison is going to take its turn in trying to secure funding for a proposed sports complex.

The city has already pledged $500,000 over the next two years to the construction of three football/soccer fields and three baseball/softball diamonds.

The city council will write a letter to the Lee County Board of Supervisors to try to encourage the county to increase its contribution of $3,000 over three years.

Mayor Brad Randolph asked for the letter to be placed before the council.

He says this project will benefit the entire county when it comes to business retention and recruitment.

“They are looking for things like this,” says Randolph, “a total package deal.  It is more than a work environment and it’s more than having an available workforce.  It is the other things that keep an employee happy and here.  We need to have that total package or they will go somewhere else.”

Lee County’s pledge of all of its hotel/motel tax revenue over the next three years accounts for less than 0.1% of the cost of the $3.4-million project.

The Vision Iowa Board has rejected Fort Madison’s request for state funding for the complex because of the size of the county’s contribution.

The panel says it would reconsider the application if the county increases its pledge to $25,000 over five years.

The Board of Supervisors has already voted on a $25,000 contribution.  It was rejected 3-2 with Supervisors Janet Fife-LaFrenz, Larry Kruse, & Gary Folluo voting against it.

Members of the sports complex task force approached the Board of Supervisors twice to no avail.  The group says it will not return to the Vision Iowa Board without the increased contribution.