The Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen met in a work session tonight to hear details on the park land purchase scheduled for a vote during the BMA meeting on Monday, November 8. Purchase of the 46+acres along Crestwyn Hills Drive is the first step toward the development of the City’s 30th park – a multi-use sports complex and community park in south Germantown.
Adopted by the BMA in 2018, the comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Planincludes many recommendations that are contingent upon the development of a new long-field complex that could accommodate a variety of field sports, including soccer, lacrosse and rugby. Given the amount of land required for the complex and community park, two properties totaling more than 46 acres in the Forest Hill Heights were determined as the overall best option for advancing this Park Master Plan recommendation. The site will accommodate a combination of competitive size fields, as well as smaller fields for recreational play. With an expected demographic shift in Germantown in the next five to 10 years, families with children living in and moving to Germantown could significantly increase. With long-field sports amenities already at maximum use, an expected higher demand will be placed on youth sports facilities.
On December 14, 2020, the BMA authorized the Mayor to enter into a Land Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) with Forest Hill Associates for the acquisition of 44+ acres of land located on Crestwyn Hill Drive, to make the earnest money payment in the amount of $10,000 and to initiate the inspection period for the City to complete its due diligence. Tonight’s work session was the last step before the BMA votes on whether to proceed with this purchase, along with an additional 2+ acres.
“Tonight, we’re gathering information to lay the groundwork for a decision that could result in something truly amazing for future generations of Germantown residents,” said Mayor Mike Palazzolo.
While it’s currently a concept-only plan, the proposed layout for the new park includes an indoor training facility with one full turf field and support spaces. The outdoor area features six synthetic turf multipurpose fields capable of hosting activities such as soccer, football, lacrosse, etc., with an additional Pee Wee field area. Two of the six fields are recommended to be built as oversized flex fields that can accommodate two diamond fields per oversized flex field. Accompanying the outdoor fields are two support buildings featuring tournament-class amenities such as a food and beverage service area, ticketing office and restrooms. The park also includes a playground and trail system to serve the residents in the surrounding area. The estimated cost of the proposed concept plan is $34 million. Development at this level will require significant investment from private investors.
Sports Facilities Advisors Partner Evan Elef, who also helped develop the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, discussed results from a market analysis and five-year operating pro forma. The study revealed that the project could position Germantown as a sports tourism destination resulting in significant increases in sales and hotel occupancy tax revenues. Further, the study showed that, at maturity, the proposed concept could generate $7.4 million in economic impact annually after the first five years.
Representatives from Kimley Horn reviewed results of the site inspection analysis, which showed no evidence of any recognized environmental conditions or overall concerns for the intended recreational land use. Assistant City Administrator Jason Huisman reviewed details of the purchase sale agreement totaling $2.515 million. Economic and Community Development Director Cameron Ross reviewed the positive impact that the project could have on the existing Forest Hill Heights small area plan. And while Germantown is currently a destination for medical, grocery and unique regional retail tourism, this project has the potential to add sports tourism to the list.
“We believe that this land purchase is a sound investment in our parks system,” said Mayor Mike Palazzolo. “By investing in our parks, we’re also investing in our youth by giving them a state-of-the-art complex for building friendships, teamwork, skills and, most important, great memories.”
The purchase consideration comes after the BMA voted during the fiscal year 2022 budget process to increase the City’s investment in maintenance of existing parks. The 2022 budget also includes approximately $27.4 million allocated to 27 projects in addition to the land purchase. This includes a $4.855 million investment in drainage improvements, $6 million in school facility investment, $10 million in major road and intersection improvements and a $3.2 million investment in utility infrastructure.