A lighted, 12-field youth soccer complex under construction in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, financed with $35 million from $65 million of general obligation bonds sold by the city in December 2007, has already received reservations for 19 tournaments that will generate more than $400,000 in economic activity.

The complex will open in September, and all the fields are reserved every weekend from the opening day through November. The fields are also booked from March through mid-June of 2010, with games tentatively set for every weekend from mid-August through November 2010.

Overland Park officials proposed the soccer complex after Johnson County voters rejected a $75 million bond package in November 2006 that would have financed up to 24 fields, 16 of them with artificial turf.

The city expects the complex to generate 150,000 new visitor days for Overland Park hotels and motels. Annual attendance at the complex is estimated at 1.4 million, with total attendance approaching two million when including visitors to a nearby public petting zoo.

Overland Park’s hotel tax supports the bonds financing the soccer complex.

The City Council in May 2007 increased the hotel tax rate to 9% from 6%, with the additional 3% earmarked for tourism-related capital projects, including the construction of the soccer complex and improvements to an entertainment district.

The GO bonds are supported by a total revenue pledge, but Overland Park expects to meet the debt service on the portion of the bonds going to the soccer complex with revenue from the hotel tax.

The city’s GO debt has unenhanced triple-A ratings from the three major rating agencies. Overland Park has $197 million of outstanding triple-A debt.

The complex has scheduled seven tournaments in 2009 and 12 for 2010. Each tournament will bring in an average of 150 teams from leagues in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma.

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