The city and the Louisville Urban League signed a deal in 2018 for a $30 million track and field complex in west Louisville. Now Sadiqa Reynolds, the CEO and president of the Urban League, says the project’s scope and cost have expanded to require a $50 million budget.
She told WFPL News some expenses grew compared to the original estimate, including previously unplanned amenities such as a four-lane bowling alley and rock climbing wall. Costs for supplies like hurdles, furniture and an audio-visual setup as well as fees for architects, engineers and lawyers came in higher than expected, she said. And she’s also factoring in potential borrowing later this year, which would have to be paid back with interest.
Both the indoor and outdoor parts of the facility are scheduled to open in December, at a cost of $50 million, Reynolds said. She explained the project’s additions by saying families can have birthday parties at the bowling alley — without having to leave the neighborhood — and kids can use the rock climbing wall while their siblings participate in track meets.
“Some of those things are because I just wanted to dream a little bit,” Reynolds said. “And I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I got a lot of it.”
Fully funding the project will require several millions more in investment, according to Reynolds. Already, the city has put in $10 million, and philanthropic donors including the James Graham Brown Foundation have given millions more. On the corporate front, Norton Healthcare purchased naming rights for $5 million.
She’s also pursuing financing through federal mechanisms. She said she is working on getting $6 million from New Markets Tax Credits, which have been used for projects such as the stalled Passport Health Plan headquarters, and another $10 million through a Opportunity Zone investment.
On top of those potential investments, Reynolds said she’s currently aiming to raise another $6 million for the capital campaign, and $5 million to go toward initial operating expenses. That’s a slight revision to the $12 million she said she was seeking last week.
Reynolds said she is also counting on sponsorships around the Norton Sports Health Athletics & Learning Complex to pay for operations. But she said they haven’t started selling those yet because she doesn’t want to risk undervaluing them.