March 21, 2019

What Will the Multigenerational Community Center Cost?

Thank you to everyone who attended our March 6 meeting to learn more about the multigenerational community center project. It was great to see the fantastic turnout of more than 120 people. The feedback we received was tremendous and provides us with the guidance Brownsburg Parks needs in order to move forward in the planning process.

In speaking with participants at the meeting, a few questions bubbled up to the surface that I’d like to address:

Why aren’t we talking about how much this is going to cost?

The focus of the March 6 meeting was on determining and validating priorities for the proposed facility. What amenities does the Brownsburg community specifically want in its facility? A swimming pool? A running/walking track? Space available for rental by the public?

Before we can talk cost it is important to be sure we know which amenities the community considers to be priorities. At the meeting, participants indicated both through an electronic poll and by placing stickers on posters representing nine broad categories which amenities were most desirable. The top five building program opportunities included: aquatics, health and fitness, athletics, social spaces, and cultural programming areas.

The project team also presented some of the possibilities that can come from a capital partnership with IU Health West Hospital. These include preventative health, nutrition and wellness services; physician consultations; physical therapy; and cardiac rehab services.

How will we determine the cost of the facility?

Knowing the community’s top priorities and the critical spaces needed to ensure a successful facility provides us with a starting point for design and budget discussions. At our April 23, 24 and 25 meetings, the community will take part in hands-on activities with our project team to help identify important details including preferences regarding building size, the acceptable range of costs for specific amenities, preferred ways of financing construction, and target cost-recovery goals for operating the facility. By the time the pre-design process wraps up this fall, the community will be well aware of the resources required to support full design, construction and ongoing operations of this facility.

Where will the money to pay for the facility come from?

Community members will consider a variety of options at our April meetings. A portion of the cost can be covered by a capital partner, such as IU Health West Hospital. Staff will continue to discuss the partnership with IU Health West Hospital leadership throughout this process to determine the appropriate capital support amount and terms for the management of the shared use space within the facility. Other funding options for design and construction being considered include a referendum or bond issue, public/private partnerships, sponsorships and grassroots fundraising.

Where will the money to maintain the facility come from?

Once built, the facility can generate revenue from its services to offset a large portion of direct and indirect expenses. This process will help Brownsburg Parks determine the level of cost recovery the community expects. The project team continues to study several successful community center models with high cost-recovery levels throughout the region.

A few examples of non-tax revenue sources include membership and user fees to access certain amenities within the facility, as well as fees for programs ranging from enrichment to wellness for all ages.

A percentage of the Department’s park operations and capital projects are supported by property tax revenue. Brownsburg Parks has a proven track record of operating its recreation programs and services at full cost-recovery levels through self-generated, non-tax revenue. In 2018, property taxes funded 38 percent of operating costs. That same year, the Department recovered 50 percent of its total operating expenditures from non-tax revenue. According to the National Parks and Recreation Association, this is well above the median national average (based on population per square mile) of 31 percent and just above the upper national average of 47 percent.

Please plan to attend one or all of our upcoming meetings. They will be held April 23, 24 and 25. All begin at 6:30 pm at the Brownsburg Fire Territory Headquarters, 470 E. Northfield Dr. And bring the kids, we want to hear from them, too!

Travis Tranbarger

Director of Parks and Recreation