We already knew how much the Sherman Soccer Complex costs to operate.

Now we know how much the venue is expected to bring in.

The Gateway Services Community Development District believes $20,746.80 in revenue will be generated for the district from the soccer and flag football programs in fiscal 2015.

In contrast, the landscaping, maintaining the turf, lighting and staff costs will be approximately $185,000.

There are always the ‘one time’ costs to consider as well. This year it’s the “Stadium Light Replacement” project that could cost anywhere between $42,000 and $84,000 depending if Gateway is able to secure a grant or not. Next year it will be something different, so there’s no point dismissing the ‘one-time’ costs as a fluke.

It’s always something.

And if it’s not something, it’s something else.

There will be additional staffing costs once the hiring of the Recreation Manager is complete. In February 2015 the Board of Supervisors authorized adding someone to the GSCDD staff to oversee the venue (as well as performing other tasks).

But the costs are what they are. It’s part of the reality of having a community amenity. Honestly, spending $200,000 per year on those fields doesn’t really sound all that terrible.

Every community needs features like those playing fields. Any family that is looking to choose between communities will immediately take notice of the Sherman Soccer Complex and it will increase likelihood that they’ll choose to buy in Gateway.

Soccer fields with active youth sports programs probably won’t be the deciding factor, but it certainly helps.

On the other side of the issue, clearly not enough is being done by the GSCDD to maximize revenue.

The very least that should be done is to form corporate partnerships, including selling banner advertisements (that are not easily visible from Griffin Drive). There’s no reason 10 to 20 companies cannot be found that would pay $500 per year for a 6 foot banner.

Not sure how much appetite there would be to sell the naming rights to the entire complex, but that could probably fetch a low 5-figure sum and go a long way to offsetting the cost. I’d be fine with my kids playing at Gartner Park.

Additionally we would assume that the Recreation Manager would work to increase paid usage of the fields by luring more teams and leagues to the complex. More organized sports on the fields means more field rental money for the district.

The GSCDD should also increase whatever they charge the Gateway Soccer Association and Gateway Flag Football by $2 per child per season. That would generate a few thousand dollars, and given the financial shortfall of the fields, it seems both a reasonable and manageable amount.

Do you have kids that are looking to play sports? Call Mark Allison with the GSA at 239-454-9303 or email Ed Ryan with the Gateway Flag Football at edryantheeditor@gmail.com.

Or do you have a business in or near Gateway? Sponsor a team with one or both of these youth leagues. (Don’t be surprised when you see Food Runners FC on the pitch in the fall soccer season!)

If we can help these programs grow, again, more money will be generated from the fields.

There’s no reason that the GSCDD cannot increase the revenue generated by the Sherman Soccer Complex to $40,000 for fiscal 2016.

It may not be necessary that the main qualification of the Recreation Manager would be sales skills, but strong consideration should be given to any candidate who can increase revenue. Selling people, leagues, teams and businesses on the benefits of the Sherman Soccer Complex should be part of the job.

It may sound like way too much to double revenue in just one year, but $20,746.80 sounds like way too little to be coming in from that asset.

Let’s hope the GSCDD and the new Recreation Manager recognize the on-going wasted opportunities at the Sherman Soccer Complex and that they plan to do something about it.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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