With the construction of the turf project finishing up this week at the football field, Sharkey Stadium has probably never looked better. We have been kept updated with the progress surrounding the project with multiple drone photos from Barberton Aerial and Barberton Drone. This along with live stream videos from Mike Eberhart and numerous pictures from Brian Canale, the Team-up 4 Turf committee chairman, paints a picture of what future visits to the stadium will look like.
Amidst all of this I notice that there is still a lot of ongoing fundraising. I thought back to a time when I was hearing that this project was completely privately funded, with the promise that no school funds would be used and that there would be no tax money allocated for this project. Whenever you bring up these questions everyone involved in the project seems to be very quiet. I couldn’t help but feel that no one wanted to be the one to say what most of us already suspected.
Not only has the project not been paid for in full, but the school board has taken a $464,172 loan to cover the shortcoming of the project. This loan was bundled in with the loan that was taken for the bus garage project which is estimated to be a nearly 4 million dollars in and of itself.
So I begin asking myself, what happened to the initial promise of not being tax payer or school funded? What happened to the turf being paid for in full? I reached out to Dave Polacek, the school board President, who put me in contact with the treasurer of the school district for further clarification on the topic. She explained to me that yes the turf project did indeed have a loan taken for it and furthermore confirmed that it was lumped in with the bus garage construction loan.
Looking further into the contract with Key Bank for an understanding of the terms of the loan it appears that the bus garage and the property was offered up for consideration as collateral for the loan, possibly along with the turf itself. The terms are outlined in the contract making Key Bank the Lessor and the school board the Lessee with bi-annual payments due on each. The payment schedule the turf project can be found below. I have only attached the payment schedule for the turf, not the 4 million dollar portion of the loan for the bus garage. I have also attached the terms of the loan for the total $4,464,172 loan.
The total $4,464,172 loan encompasses the 4 million for the bus garage construction as well as the $464,172 that was needed for the turf. The remaining balance for the turf was provided by the Team Up 4 Turf committee totaling $230,000. That brings the outstanding portion of the Turf project to $774,391.27 (after factoring in the interest of $80,219.27 over the duration of the loan). The terms make the payoff date for the turf September of 2026 with a payment due of 35,720.27 twice a year. That means that to meet the payoff date of the loan there must be a total of $71,440.54 raised every year for the school to not have to cover the difference.
With the payoff date of 2026 the turf will most likely be coming due for its first maintenance shortly after the last payment. The turf committee has some big hurdles ahead of them if they are to keep their promise by raising $71,440.54 a year through fundraising between now and then.
I hope this helps provide some clarification in regards to the finances involving the turf project. If you are interested in making a donation to the turf project please contact the Barberton Community Foundation.
TURF PROJECT PAYMENT SCHEDULE