A week has passed since the attempt to increase the tri-county lodging tax to fund a multi-field soccer complex failed. The vote turnout was higher than expected in all three counties, with a heavy majority against the vote. Many residents discussed issues with the funding mechanism in place to fund the field, alongside a feeling that the tax would push away general tourism.

A week has passed since the attempt to increase the tri-county lodging tax to fund a multi-field soccer complex failed. The vote turnout was higher than expected in all three counties, with a heavy majority against the vote. Many residents discussed issues with the funding mechanism in place to fund the field, alongside a feeling that the tax would push away general tourism. 

Mike Spriggs, owner of Point Randall Resort and member of the TCLA board, felt positively towards the failure of the vote. He says that he was happy to see the results and that, in his research, none of the precincts passed it favorably. He says that this vote was a good representation of the feelings towards the project by the people of the lake. He feels that people were united under a common message. 

Spriggs says that the high voter turnout was not surprising to him and the high-imbalance of for-to-against was also not a shock. In fact, he says that he would have been surprised if it had turned out any differently. 

Gail Griswold, owner Shawnee Bluff Winery & Vineyard and community leader against the vote, was also excited by the voter turnout. She says that the community showed up in big numbers for a vote that only had one item to consider. In the end, she says that their tireless efforts were validated.

“The power of the vote can be inspiring in moments like these,” Griswold said. 

She too was not surprised by the turnout numbers, as she says that the opposition to the tax was strong throughout their opposing “campaign.” 

“People of the lake are smart!” Griswold said. “And once we began educating people with the facts and asking questions the supporters of the "Yes" couldn’t answer, because it was a bad plan, the people of the lake voted accordingly. It gives me hope that people around here can’t be bought with thousand of dollars in slick advertising, with no substance behind their ads.”

However, not all feelings towards the vote’s failure were positive. Tim Jacobsen, director of the CVB, says he was very disappointed by the vote. He says he felt the fields would have been a great economic benefit to all three counties of the lake. He was surprised that the turnout was so high. We knew there was an opposition behind the vote, but didn’t feel that “it would be that much of a landslide.” 

Moving forward, each party had their opinion of what would be the best next step. Spriggs says that he sees a long road ahead. Firstly, he says that whatever project of this scale the TCLA wants to move forward with in the future, the vote needs to be unanimous. He says that the felt the idea being the complex was in the right place, but that he wasn’t sure if this was exactly what the lake needed right now to move ahead. He pointed out that the land is still open and that discussions should be had about what the best usage of that land should be. 

Griswold feels that the TCLA needs to focus on the $1.9 million funds they currently receive and use a better platform to bring visitors to the lake. She feels that they need to find a way to better represent lodging owners and spend tax dollars in a way that benefits existing entities all around the lake. 

Working on the project since June 2018, Jacobsen has faced many crossroads with the project board that he feels may need to be reevaluated. He would like to see members of all viewpoints, i.e. businesses, residents, oppositions, those in favor, come together and have a discussion about all of these aspects that he felt the TCLA, CVB and business members did their best to decide on to get this vote ready.

He feels aspects such as ownership of the fields, location, and size should be up for full consideration. 

In the coming months, Jacobsen says that CVB and TCLA meetings will be the best place to discuss how this will move ahead. He sees a full community effort needed to make it happen and all parties involved need to have a say. That is, if any decision to move forward is made.