Bo Pilgrim Park at SFA to bring home $11.8 million a year for Nacogdoches
Nov. 30, 2006
NACOGDOCHES - Stephen F. Austin State University today launched the public fund-raising phase for Bo Pilgrim Park at SFA during a noon luncheon at the Homer Bryce Stadium field house. Results of an economic impact study and background on the environmental impact of the project were announced.
The $14 million athletic complex will be the on-campus home to baseball and softball. The NCAA Division I facility will have an estimated $11.8 million annual economic impact on the Nacogdoches community, according to a study conducted by ImpactDataSource of Austin, Texas, and funded by the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation.
The study showed that revenues generated directly by the facility and through spending by out-of-town visitors will generate an estimated $6.4 million annually in taxable revenues from retail businesses and restaurants. An additional $5.1 million a year in taxable revenues is expected from nearly 65,000 additional room nights sold by area hotels.
To date the university has received a $1 million gift from businessman Bo Pilgrim to name the athletic complex. During a 13-month campaign an additional $2.5 million in private donations will be solicited.
"Building Bo Pilgrim Park at SFA will be a wonderful milestone in the history of the university and the community," said Dr. Baker Pattillo, interim president of SFA.
Pattillo noted that site preparation and construction would not begin before the university raises a minimum of $3.5 million in private donations. He also set a January 2008 fund-raising deadline. "If we do not have the private donations in hand by then, the university will re-evaluate the project," he said.
The remainder of the $10.5 million needed for the project will come from the sale of bonds.
Pattillo has appointed SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill to lead the effort to secure the additional private donations.
"If the community embraces the positive impact the ballpark is expected to have on Nacogdoches, I feel that key individuals and businesses will step forward with the private funds needed to get the project built," said Hill.
Gift opportunities range from $750,000 for the baseball stadium naming rights to $300 for a name placement on the Bronze "Wall of Names" at the entrance to the stadiums.
Hill believes one of the most popular funding opportunities will be for stadium seats at $1,200 per chair back. The name of an individual or business will be permanently engraved on the stadium seat.
"The $1,200 stadium seat option is an affordable way for Nacogdoches citizens and businesses to support a project that will benefit the community for many years to come," said Hill.
Bo Pilgrim Park is scheduled to be built at the intersection of University Drive and East Starr Avenue on a 24.5-acre land tract that is owned by the university. Leo A. Daly, an internationally known sports architectural firm that designed Minute Maid Park in Houston, has developed plans for the stadium complex. J.E. Kingham Construction Company will manage the construction of the facility.
Bo Pilgrim Park will feature a regulation-size baseball stadium and softball stadium, press boxes for each, a field house, training room and weight room. The baseball stadium will seat 1,200 fans, while the softball stadium will seat 600.
The complex will feature a 50-foot buffer of trees and vegetation along the University Drive perimeter.
"We were able to make some modifications to the original project design to address concerns expressed by some Nacogdoches residents who want to preserve the natural beauty of the site," said Hill.
The natural beauty of 19 acres of pristine wetlands in northern Nacogdoches County will be permanently protected as a result of the project. Forested wetlands and dry mesic, forested uplands along a 1,711-foot segment of Naconiche Creek, commonly referred to as "Naconiche Bog," will be designated as a preservation site as part of a plan submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate less than three acres of wetlands that will be lost during the developed of the athletic complex.
Burrows Branch will be improved to minimize any downstream impacts, and a nominal 100-foot green belt vegetated buffer will be created along the channel as part of the overall environmental mitigation of the project.
"Not only will Bo Pilgrim Park at SFA have a positive economic impact and help preserve a pristine natural wetland in northern Nacogdoches County, but parking built at the facility also will give visitors greater access to SFA's Mast Arboretum and events at William R. Johnson Coliseum and Homer Bryce Stadium," said Hill.
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