The city of Grand Junction is planning to refinance the debt on Suplizio Field and borrow additional money for a stadium renovation.
City Manager Greg Caton said during a City Council work session Monday that by refinancing the debt, which is paid by the city and the Grand Junction Baseball Committee, which hosts the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, they could raise additional money for proposed renovations.
“JUCO has been responsible for $300,000 a year and the city has been $232,000 that comes out of Conservation Trust Fund dollars for the total debt service there of $532,000 approximate dollars,” Caton said. “Through this opportunity, we really thought it made sense for the city to go 50/50 in that regard and increase ours to $300,000.”
Caton said the city anticipates that Colorado Mesa University would also contribute $100,000 a year toward the major capital improvement project. He said they are in discussions with other organizations that use the facility about contributing funding for small projects.
Parks Improvement Advisory Board Chair Bruce Hill said the refinancing would raise between $6 million and $9 million. The list of projects has not been finalized but could include replacing and upgrading some of the bleachers at Suplizo Field, renovating of the main entryway to both Suplizio Field and Stocker Stadium, replacing the Suplizio Field outfield and improving the parking lot.
“We’ve always had in mind when we invest our dollars into that facility that really takes into consideration all the users,” Hill said.
The City Council gave its staff directions that it wanted to move forward and had a first reading of the refinancing at its regular Wednesday meeting.
This debt is not like a traditional bond, which is guaranteed through a pledge of revenue or a general obligation of the City, General Services Director Jay Valentine said. It is a Certificate of Participation (COP) and is paid through annual appropriation.
Valentine said the city offers City Hall as collateral, as it did for the original COP, and makes annual lease payments to pay off the debt in partnership with the JUCO committee.
Since it is an annual appropriate it does not need to be approved by voters, Valentine said.
The original COP, which was established in 2010 and built the Lincoln Park Tower, was set up to continue through 2035 with the option to refinance starting this year. The new COP will continue through 2045, which is the final year of the City’s current contract with JUCO.
The public hearing on the refinancing will be held at the Council’s Nov. 18 meeting.