Casper Development Group Eyes Sports Complex for Platte River Commons
The master plan for the former Amoco refinery property includes a sports complex, and a Casper company pitched an idea for that during a meeting of the board that oversees the property.
Paying for it and ownership questions remain to be seen, Brandon Daigle of Flag Development said.
"We haven't formalized anything," Daigle said.
But Wednesday, he asked for and received an informal thumbs-up from the Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board to further look at those issues.
The proposal would include a large field house on a 10-acre site on the property now known as the Platte River Commons that could become the home of a large field house and sports fields to serve the needs of local soccer clubs, youth baseball, golfers, cheerleading teams, youth bands, and tennis players.
Representatives of some of those teams and clubs have told him the need is real and continues to grow.
However, teams and clubs have been fighting for space to practice and play, and some have outgrown their current facilities, Daigle said. The Casper Crush, for example, recently expanded to include players up to 18 years old.
Those teams and clubs generally don't have access to local schools, he added.
The proposal, which is just in its infant stage, would not compete with existing facilities such as the YMCA or the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming, he said.
This proposed field house would anchor the western part of the Platte River Commons and would have room to expand, Daigle said.
The field house would be about the same size as the $14 million facility at the Natrona County High School, but would not cost as much because it would be simpler, he said.
That led to a discussion of how to pay for it and who would own it.
Daigle believes the building would pay for itself.
But to get it started, he said Flag Development and the Refined Properties company that owns property bought from the ARAJPB would seek possible funding from BP, which is still involved in the clean-up of the site, the City of Casper, the Wyoming Business Council, philanthropic organizations, and the from the ARAJPB itself.
Bob Hopkins, a Casper city council member and Joint Powers Board member, wanted to Daigle to be more specific.
The initial goal, Daigle said, would be for the ARAJPB to own the building and land and possibly sell it later. The ARAJPB also would be responsible for the maintenance until it is sold.
However, another board member noted that the goal of the ARAJPB was to sell the land and owning the sports complex would run counter to that goal.
Board Chairman Reed Merschat said the sports complex would fit with the master plan.
So he and the other board members agreed to let Daigle continue looking at possible designs of the complex and explore fundraising.
The ARAJPB was created in 1998 when Amoco — now BP — signed an agreement with the City of Casper and Natrona County to oversee the development of the property and replace the hundreds of jobs lost when the refinery closed in 1991.
The Casper City Council and the Natrona County Commission appoint the board members.
The joint powers board does not receive any funding from the city or the county.
BP pledged more than $28 million toward the goal of replacing the number of jobs lost when the refinery shut down in 1991. The board has received all that money.
Besides BP, the joint powers board receives revenue from interest income, and sales and leases of its property on the former refinery site now known as the Platte River Commons and the former tank farm now known as the Salt Creek Heights Business Center.