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County negotiates details of Whitewater Park
The Board of County Commissioners has approved the principle of a partnership to build and operate a Whitewater Park.
On August 12, 2003, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution supporting the principle of entering into a partnership to construct and operate a whitewater park on County-owned land along the Catawba River.

U. S. National Whitewater Center

RESOLUTION APPROVING IN PRINCIPLE A PROPERTY LEASING AGREEMENT AND A CONTINGENT FUNDING AGREEMENT FOR A WHITEWATER PARK

             WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County owns an approximately 270 acre parcel of property along the Catawba River ("Park Property") which it has plans to develop sometime in the future as the Historic Tuckaseegee Park; and  

            WHEREAS, the most recently approved Historic Tuckaseegee Ford Master Plan proposes the development of the Park to include a whitewater facility, a high adventure climbing and ropes course facility, mountain bike trails, running trails, a conference center, camping and related outdoor activities; and  

            WHEREAS, Charlotte Whitewater Park, Inc. (CWP) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that has proposed that the Park Property be leased to CWP under a long term ground lease, which lease would require that CWP be responsible for financing the entire development of the Park and for operating the Park during the remaining term of the lease; and  

            WHEREAS, CWP has proposed developing on the Park Property a world class whitewater boating facility modeled after the 2000 Olympic venue site in Penrith, Australia and other park amenities contained in the most recently adopted Historic Tuckaseegee Ford Master Plan; and 

            WHEREAS, CWP has the necessary experience and expertise to design, build, and operate an outdoor recreational facility as contemplated by the Historic Tuckaseegee Ford Master Plan; and 

            WHEREAS, the total cost to design and build the Park as proposed in the Master Plan is estimated at $21.5 million dollars, with funding to be secured by CWP from a syndicate of financial institutions offering a multi-year payback period; and  

            WHEREAS, the United States Olympic Committee has formally endorsed the proposed whitewater facility and has proposed to designate it as an Official Olympic Training Site once built; and  

            WHEREAS, CWP has proposed that all of the expenses associated with the Park, including both operating expenses and debt service for capital costs, will be covered through park revenues, corporate sponsorships, philanthropic donations, and State and federal funding with contingent funding commitments from local governmental entities in the event of any shortfalls in Park revenues necessary to cover expenses; and  

            WHEREAS, CWP has proposed that upon retirement of all debt associated with capital costs, CWP would dedicate Park proceeds in excess of operating expenses to a trust fund that will be available to help fund other County park projects; and

             WHEREAS, the plans and specifications of all improvements and facilities will be subject to approval by the County and would meet all County standards and specifications; and  

            WHEREAS, the projected time line for the development of the entire Park, from approval of an agreement to the opening of the Park, shows development completed in approximately three (3) years; and  

            WHEREAS, CWP has proposed developing the Park using current "green" development practices and with environmental sensitivity; and  

            WHEREAS, development of the Park as proposed would provide additional recreational opportunities for the residents of Mecklenburg County as well as bring visitors to the County to use the Park facilities and therefore assist with the economic development of the County; and  

            WHEREAS, the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commission approved the concept of the lease to CWP and development of the Park by CWP during its June 10, 2003 meeting; and  

            WHEREAS, CWP has proposed obtaining contingent funding commitments in the following amounts from the following entities; $7,000,000 from Mecklenburg County, $2,000,000 from the City of Charlotte, $1,000,000 from Gaston County, $1,000,000 from the City of Mount Holly, $500,000 from the City of Belmont, and $500,000 from the City of Gastonia; and  

            WHEREAS, the proposed contingent Mecklenburg County commitment of $7,000,000 would be a maximum of $1,000,000 per year for seven (7) years beginning in 2007; and  

            WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County's obligation during each of those seven (7) years would be 7/12 th of any operating deficit (of all expenses, including repayment of any debt incurred) per year up to a maximum of $1,000,000 per year; and  

            WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County has determined that it does not currently have funds available for the development of the Park and has determined that it would be appropriate for it to lease the Park Property to CWP to enable CWP to develop the Park as outlined in this Resolution; and  

            WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County has the authority pursuant to N.C.G.S. §160A-272 to lease the Park Property to CWP for the purpose of development of a park; and  

            WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County has the authority under G.S. §153A-449 to contract with and appropriate money to any entity in order to carry out any public purpose (such as a park) that the County is authorized by law to engage in; and  

            WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County also has the authority pursuant to N.C.G.S. §158-7.1 to make appropriations for purposes which, in the discretion of the governing body of the County Commissioners of the County, would increase the business prospects of the County; and  

            WHEREAS, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners has determined that leasing the Historic Tuckaseegee Ford Park Property to CWP, and entering into a contingent funding agreement would be in the public interest and consistent with authority granted to Mecklenburg County;  now, therefore, be it  

            RESOLVED, that the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners approves in principle a long term property leasing agreement with Charlotte Whitewater Park, Inc., for development and operation of the Park facilities shown on the Historic Tuckaseegee Ford Master Plan, including a world class whitewater facility, and a contingent funding agreement with Charlotte Whitewater Park, Inc., for the operation of a park developed consistent with the Historic Tuckaseegee Ford Master Plan, and directs the County Manager and County Park and Recreation staff to negotiate such agreements with Charlotte Whitewater Park, Inc., and bring such agreements back to the Board of Commissioners for its review, modification if necessary, and approval in accordance with procedures provided by law.




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