A rendering shows where a proposed county sports complex would be built off of Route 50 near Stephen Decatur High School. 

The future of a Worcester County sports complex – without any funding or support from Worcester County — will be up for discussion the next time the Ocean City Council meets.

Coming off a presentation on details of the most recent study for the proposed project, city officials are set to discuss taking the lead on the plans at the next council work session set for 1 p.m., May 30.

City Manager Terry McGean said staff and council members will discuss what they need to do next, which could include a summary of the recent meeting and potential funding possibilities.

Representatives from the Maryland Stadium Authority and consulting firm Crossroad Consultants met with elected officials from the city, county and Berlin on April 28 to go over the latest site assessment and cost estimates for constructing a complex on a roughly 100-acre site off of Route 50 near Stephen Decatur High School.

The informational meeting was the first and only time the study, which the Stadium Authority released in December, was publicly discussed in detail. After a November referendum, a majority of the county commissioners shot down any chance that the county would fund or support the project with a vote to halt all efforts to buy the property.

The vote sent the project into limbo, forcing city officials to step up if they still want to see it happen.

According to the study, which is the second completed for the project, the sports complex would cost more than $153.5 million, with total gross state and local tax revenue supporting debt service between $142 million and $169 million of 20-year revenue bonds.

The local contribution would be an estimated $31 million to $36.5 million, with the state’s contribution projected at $111 million to $132.5 million.

Once built, the tax revenues, according to the study, would be estimated between $8.5 and $10.1 million in a stabilized year of operation. Net new tax revenue is estimated to be between $6.6 and $7.8 million, with $1.7 to $2 million to local governments and $4.9 to $5.8 million to the state.

However, the complex is not exactly a money-making venture, according to analysis in the study.

In detail, the site plan includes 10 rectangular outdoor fields, several of which can also be used as baseball or softball diamonds; a 125,000 square-foot indoor fieldhouse with 10 basketball courts or 20 volleyball courts and 20,000 square feet of indoor expansion space. Plans also include a tournament central area, parking, a playground, and support spaces. There is also room for future expansion areas.

City officials tentatively set aside money in fiscal 2025 for land acquisition costs for the complex, however no specific plans are in place.

Council members have also expressed mixed feelings on the project.

While most have said they support the concept of a local sports complex, several have said they are not on board with the location because of potential traffic and other concerns. It is possible that some of those thoughts and details could be hashed out during the upcoming work session.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.