Cotton says they toured 25 sites across the tri-county area and found useable space in all three counties.

At a town hall meeting in Camdenton Tuesday, XO Strategic was present to run through a presentation with specific information surrounding their lake soccer complex study.  The discussion was given to the Camdenton Board of Aldermen by Sports Complex Design and Construction Expert David Ficklin and President of XO Strategic Greg Cotton. 

The presentation opened with Cotton discussing the various aspects of the study and which items the group was asked to look at and which it was not asked. He says they were employed to look at feasibility, realistic operation pro forma, recommended financial options, exploring potential lake sites and how to improve use of Spring and Fall hotel room use. He says they were not asked to recommend a specific site, calculate total economic impact or advocate for the project one way or another. 

Cotton says they toured 25 sites across the tri-county area and found useable space in all three counties. The specifications they were looking for during their studies included space for eight fields, 2.6 acres each. This space would also need to be able to accommodate 100 parking spaces per field. On top of this, the site would need to factor in transportation access to the fields and restrooms and hospitalities. In total, these sites averages 30 to 32 acres in total. 

XO Strategic then when on to looking at the various factors that had to be accounted for when considering the feasibility of the complex as a whole at the lake. 

First, they talked about financing. Cotton says that the lake is fortunate to have a funding mechanism such as the TCLA (Tri-County Lodging Association) tax. This tax could be increase by vote in each county to raise between $22.2 to $24.8 million towards the complex. To complete this site, not counting for land cost, XO determined the necessary funds would sit around $24 to $26.4 million. Without use of the lodging tax, they don’t believe another funding effort would be possible. 

Next, the team looked at realistic market demand in the area. They opened by saying the economic drive of this is a powerful factor. With a stay-and-play tournament model, which selects a specific hotel and room for families upon signing up for a tournament, the complex could draw in upwards of 70,000 to 100,000 shoulder season rooms. Cotton also said that, when families make long travels to go to these style tournaments, they want to have something to do outside of the games. He says the lake would draw a high demand in this pursuit. 

The study then turned to how the process would work moving forward if the board was interested. First, Ficklin says that an advisory board would need to be assembled. This would ideally consist of one member of the LCVB, one member of the TCLA, and thee large employer representatives or community leaders. 

Ficklin says that, if the board is able to be compiled, and RFP for site selection should be sought after by March. In April, he says a concrete sports authority should take over the project to champion the project furthermore as the head member. He says the site selected would has to be acquired by May. Throughout the rest of the year leading to November, the team would need to secure corporate partners, RFP for operations and finalize financing options for the November vote. 

Assuming a team would be able to complete this line of tasks and have a vote confirmed by the end of November, Ficklin says the next step would be to spend two months selecting a design team and taking 6-9 months to complete the design. This would be followed by 2 months to find a general contractor for the construction and spending a year to build the complex outright. If all of these steps are followed and completed, the site could realistically by built by 2021.

The team closed with questions, which brought forth a few points of interest. The Camdenton Board of Aldermen asked what the case would be if a portion of the tri-county votes yes and a portion votes no. The team responded by saying Camden County would be the most necessary county to secure funding. If Camden alone voted yes, the project could still be feasible. Without Camden, the project would not work. 

Before the meeting concluded, Tim Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau, said that the group had already voted to begin work towards narrowing down a site selection for the project.