City's Spending $40 Mil to Build Elm Fork Soccer Complex. Question Is: Who'll Run It?

Categories: City Hall, Sports
EFAC.jpeg
Via.
Speaking of items out for bid by the City o' Dallas ...

Over the summer we noticed that the city was looking for someone to snap up the naming rights to the Elm Fork Athletic Complex off Walnut Hill and Stemmons -- you know, that 138-acre, 20-field soccer complex behind Malibu Grand Prix being paid for with 1998, 2003 and '06 bond money. But it doesn't appear the city found any takers.

That's how I read the latest Elm Fork request for proposals -- this one looking for someone to manage and operate the facility, which would involve securing sponsorships and naming rights. But that's just one bit of the proposal, published at the end of last week on the city's inscrutable bids website. The whole thing follows, of course, but long story short:
To date, the City has allocated approximately $31.4 million in funding for land acquisition and development of EFAC. Phase 1 construction of this complex is currently under construction and consists of 19 soccer fields, three satellite restroom/vending pavilions, parking and drives, loop trail, site utilities, irrigation, landscaping and fencing. The current schedule projections are that the Phase 1 will be ready for play in the fall of 2012. It is anticipated that the components of the master plan that are not built in Phase 1 will be funded in the proposed 2012 Bond Program. ...

The City of Dallas seeks a qualified Operator that will work with the City to manage and operate EFAC as a premier soccer venue that primarily serves Dallas youth and citizens and to market the facility for regional, national and international tournaments -- not exclusively for soccer, but for other sports as well, including rugby, lacrosse, field hockey, cricket and archery. A sampling of the events and tournaments associated with soccer, for which the complex will be an ideal site, include: Dallas Cup, DMSSL Cinco de Mayo Cup, DMSSL Labor Day Tournament, USYS Youth National Championships, Thanksgiving Invitational Tournament, Adidas Showcase Tournament ...
You get the picture. Jump for the what-for. I thinking you'll do an excellent job. No, not you. You. Elm Fork Athletic Complex Operations Proposal

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21 comments
Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Isn't most of that land a designated flood plain?  I know that Elm Fork Shooting Sports at NW Highway and Luna Rd. floods out pretty regularly.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Robert will you check  and see what that bond money was intended for in 98,2003 and 2006 I don't remember voting for a soccer complex.

sports are fun
sports are fun

I like it.  I'd like it even more if there was a concrete skatepark right next to it.

Jonathan Nichol
Jonathan Nichol

Great post – I’m going to Tweet about your blog.

Nascarluv
Nascarluv

Haven't you heard that the City's Purchasing Director only has a GED? Or maybe it is a high school diploma. Definitely no college degree. Have you heard him speak? It's like listening to a casette tape being played backwards. He's speaks bullshit to cover his ignorance. The Asst Director who was also hand picked is even worse. This is who is handling the city's millions of dollars in business transactions? As for ethics, all you have to do is look at his wife. She used to work for the man who rose from lowly manager to now Purchasing Director. They used to double date with the Purchasing Director at the time who left his wife/family for another Purchasing Dept employee. All with City Manager Mary Suhm's blessing! Now how do you feel about doing business with the city? The facts speak for themselves. No wonder things are such a mess!!

Anon
Anon

Robert, can you give a primer on how municipal budgets work in Texas? You know, just the basics. How capital projects are usually funded with bond debt, and how operations and maintenance is paid from the general fund? It might also be good to remind folks that the tax rate they see on their bills from the city (any city) is really the sum of two different numbers – the portion that goes toward the debt and the portion that goes to O&M. And don’t forget to let folks know that General Obligation bonds go to pay for projects that were voted on by the taxpayers. In other words it might be a good idea to share that the money that pays for a multi-million dollar capital project like this cannot be used to pay for O&M items paid out of the General Fund. Assuming you have a city government that works the way it’s supposed to. I know that’s sometimes a bit of a stretch in Dallas. A big stretch. Ok, forget I mentioned it. What was I thinking? This is Dallas we’re talking about. Do it big and do it wrong. And where are all those other uses mentioned at the soccer complex at Northwest Highway and Garland Road where the old airfield used to be?

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Cricket and archery?  Hard to believe from the illustration there is room for a decent cricket pitch.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So with another year of budget shortfalls what does the city do why squander another $40 million.   Why the city has such a stellar track record with the white water rapids fiasco being the latest example of ineptitude on our elected leaders parts.    Oh I forgot the tax payers are an endless supply of funding for their stupidity.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

That screwy, antiquated City of Dallas bid solicitation website is classic!

I particularly like the way they seem to design the bidding process to frustrate true competition among bidders.  As you go through the bid solicitations, you'll notice that the frequently the City only allows 5 business days between the solicitation and the deadline--- that enables the City to tip off their "friends" that a business opportunity is coming out ahead of time so they can get ready.  Then, once the real solicitation is issued, there isn't enough time for anyone else to find out about the deal and put together a response.

Take, for example, the solicitation for the DFD Exhaust Extraction System.  The solicitation was published today, with a bid closing deadline in exactly one week.  There is a pre-bid conference scheduled as well.  When is that? TODAY... at 10:00 a.m.!!!  Hahaha.

In other words, if someone was interested in bidding on this item, they would have to be lucky enough to be watching the internet when the item was posted at, say, 9 a.m.  Then, they would have to run for their car immediately to have a chance of making it to the pre-bid conference starting 60 minutes later (of course, that's assuming that the prospective respondent was in the metro area-- otherwise, it would be physically impossible for the prospective bidder to attend at all).  Of course, to be meaningful, they would need to review the solicitation first, to know what sorts of questions to ask-- that would probably take at least an hour, in and of itself.

It's hard to see how ANYONE could respond to the solicitation by the deadline unless they had been tipped off before hand. It's certainly not enough time to figure out the most optimal, cost-effective way of delivering the service requested.

Just for fun, it would be interesting to attempt to actually bid on providing some of this stuff as a legitimate, non-connected third party.  I bet the City staffers and the favored contractor would flip.

---------------------

Also, I, too, am simply stunned that the City is spending $40 million on a soccer megaplex when its existing infrastructure (including existing parks) are falling into disrepair due to a lack of adequate funds. How is the City going to be able to afford to maintain this thing once it is completed?

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

There is no way I would let this loser of a project to be part of the $600 million bond program.Especially since the bond program 6 years ago was for $1.2 billion. We can't even have decent streets, and other basics and they want to put this in the bond package.

I'm telling you now, we gotta get a new city manager. This is mismanagement at it's highest level.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Primer on how municipal budget works in Dallas: It Doesn't.

Anon
Anon

This isn't about stupidity. It's probably about the people who are selling the real estate to the city and maybe whoever is going to take this management contract. They donated their hard earned money to politicians in their campaigns. Are you telling me you don't want them to get something in return?

Mariommartin470
Mariommartin470

North Texas Soccer is the best entity to operate this complex.  They already host alot of the main Soccer Tournaments this facility is seeking.

Metroplexual
Metroplexual

Wylie H.Why don't you do like the HUB's do and bid low, then contact the the the other biddersand pick one to subcontract the job at a lower cost and pay you a commission.  Give your new company a cool name, hire a representative friendly to city hall as your representative and voila you have a new business with no capital investment and little risk.

Citizen Kim
Citizen Kim

I work in proposal responses to City and County RFPs.  The RFP for  DFD Exhaust Extraction System described by Wylie H. is crooked - pure and simple.  There is NO other explanation.  I wish that the local media would work some FOIA magic to uncover the identify of the City procurement person that is in charge of that proposal.  Then examine others managed by that invidual.  That individual should be fired.  Now!!

Of course, if not fired then expose the manager. People in city procurement are being paid off, or instructed by higher-ups to rig the process to the vendors that are paying off the higher ups.  Either way, it needs to stop.  Now!!

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

This is why we need stronger ethics for our city, county and school boards/trustees/council/commissioners and sr. managements. They are not there to feed of the public trough. In addition the poor performance of the city in past projects make this seem to me like throwing more money down the toilet. The city will be jonsing for more bond money next year and there is nothing in the past that shows that they (the city government (or other governments)) can manage tax monies. It will be squander the tax time down at city hall.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

What makes this whole payola thing a big mess is there isn't enough payola.  I have heard anecdotally the price for a city councilperson is around $5,000.  At these prices any incompetent piker can bathe in the city's largesse.  If we are going to get quality companies and people to win the city's projects we need to raise the bar to keep out the under capitalized riff raff

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

So maybe part of the payola problem is that it is not only the council members who are for sale, but everyone else all down the line.  This is a poor way to do business as it insulates the lower level grifters from the council control, and reduces the money available to the council people.  Does anyone know what it costs to buy a low level but effectively placed staff person?

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

I smell a phone call from Schutze in 3, 2, 1...

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