In March 2016, the Elmhurst Park District hired Convention Sports and Leisure International (CSL) to conduct an indoor sports facility feasibility study jointly with the City of Elmhurst. At the Monday, October 16, 2016 Park Board Meeting, study results were presented to the Park Board and the City of Elmhurst’s Development, Planning and Zoning Committee (DPZ).
The key purpose of this study was to assess the viability of developing and operating a potential new indoor sports facility which could potentially include aquatics, gymnasium space, indoor turf and indoor ice. The study included extensive feedback from the Elmhurst Sports community in addition to interviews with potential stakeholders. The purpose of the study was to assess need, demand, current market conditions, projected revenues and operational costs and information regarding current trends for indoor sports facilities. The study also looked at the demographics of the area, inventory of other similar facilities and the facility’s potential economic impact.
Bill Krueger of Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL), the firm hired to conduct the study, presented three possible scenarios with financial forecasts. Scenario one, a facility with indoor hardwood courts that would have the potential to generate an estimated annual profit of $149,000. Scenario two, a larger facility with both hardwood courts and indoor turf with estimated annual profit of $270,000. Scenario three, an indoor ice arena with two ice sheets that was estimated to generate an annual operating loss of about $202,000. Each of these financial scenarios is based on potential after four years of operation. The firm did not report high demand for an indoor aquatics facility and did not pursue this scenario.
CSL estimates the construction cost to build one of these indoor facilities to range from $22.8 to $32.2 million and require a minimum of two acres of land, plus land for parking. This cost estimates from CSL are for construction costs only and do not include the potential cost of property acquision.
Several sources were listed as potential funding options, including the possibility of partnering with private for-profit organizations or health care organizations. CSL estimates the total financial impact for Elmhurst, with direct and indirect user-spending to be between $11.9-$16.5 million per year with generation of up to 212 new full and part-time jobs.
The Park Board and DPZ Committee both recognized the demand for indoor sports facility use, but agreed that due to the size of the potential capital investment, and questions over land acquisition and funding, further consideration is needed.