The local sports complex has opened up the sports scene in Kerrville, but what many may not realize is that it also boosts the economy for the entire community, according to Gil Salinas, the chief operating officer for the Kerrville Economic Development Corporation.
“A sports complex is a huge economic driver for any given community,” Salinas said. “In Kerrville, our sports complex is actually a regional and state draw, as we’ve seen how it has attracted families from all over the state.”
That means more dollars from out of the area are entering — and thus, boosting — the Kerrville economy. People who come here for the sports complex often stay in hotels, go shopping and go out to eat, Salinas said.
“This is exactly the type of money which drives small business,” he said.
Ashlea Boyle, the director of the parks and recreation department, said the total amount of money the complex brings in annually is difficult to quantify.
“This complex was built with the philosophy of having an indirect impact to the community through sales tax and hotel/motel tax and also providing a service to the community, not being a direct revenue generator,” Boyle said. “Not only is this a quality-of-life
project to increase services to our community, it’s an economic driver as well.”
Whether or not it is an indicator of a positive economic impact from the sports complex or something else, hotel occupancy taxes — which are generated through the amount of people staying in Kerrville hotels and go to the city and the state — have increased overall since the complex opened in January 2018.
According to information from Boyle, hotel occupancy taxes in January 2018 amounted to $68,393.82, while the same month of this year amounted to $85,026.80. February saw a slight drop, while March’s growth looked similar to January.
Salinas added that with heavier numbers of visitors, it’s important to plan ahead as a community. The Kerrville 2050 Comprehensive Plan, which is a plan to guide Kerrville’s growth over the next 30 years, is a good way to help with that.
“As a community with a regional draw, (we) just need to be sure and plan for the future in regards to our infrastructure to be able and accommodate the influx of visitors to our city,” Salinas said.
It’s hard to say how many people use the sports complex on a daily basis, since this varies widely depending on events and the time of year. But Boyle said the complex has hosted 361 tournament teams in baseball and softball this calendar year.
D-BAT, which operates as the city’s tenant at the complex, has the goal of hosting 1,000 teams in 2019, Boyle said.
She said D-BAT operates the baseball and softball activities, while the city operates the soccer side and provides maintenance for the entire complex.
The complex sits on 104 acres around Holdsworth Drive, with 11 baseball/softball fields and 20 acres of soccer fields.
The complex serves as a venue for tournaments, but also offers space for multiple sports organizations, such as the Hill Country Youth Soccer Association, Hill Country Crush Soccer Academy and Kerrville Little League, as well as some schools.
Building and establishing the complex cost about $18.5 million, funded through a public private partnership. The city contributed $9 million through the local economic improvement corporation and $2 million for the construction of the D-BAT building.
“It’s important to note that this project did not increase taxes,” Boyle said.
The Cailloux Foundation donated the land and also financially contributed a few million dollars, Boyle said.
She added that the complex’s fields are irrigated with re-use water, which creates significant savings versus using potable water.