Walker Details “Phase II” of Sports Complex @ Town Hall Mtg

At a town hall meeting at the Old Ruston Fire Station, Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker yesterday afternoon detailed the second phase of the multisport complex now under construction in south Ruston. This phase is to be funded by a 1 3/4 cent sales tax on Ruston hotels, restaurants, and movie theaters.

The three basketball courts, combination VFW/Senior Center (about 3,000 sq ft), and water park will be located adjacent to the complex administration building, which was formerly the Campus Community Assembly of God church, said Walker. That building is now utilized by contractor Womack & Sons as their construction office.

“We expect it will be $11 to $12 million, but we’re not sure,” Walker said of the total cost.

He also said that he expected the addition will be paid off in seven years.

Walker touted the economic impact of the complex, saying it would dramatically increase hotel occupancy and restaurant business, with a corresponding increase in sales tax collections.

“The restaurants will go from $6.5 million a month in total sales, to $1.66 million additional to that. They (the hotels) will face a $1.22 million increase. A hundred percent increase,” Walker said. “Seventy five percent of the tax will be paid by those who come from out of town,” he added.

Walker also introduced the new director of the complex, Tamishia Motes.

One question from the audience was why was this tax not be voted on by the citizens, while the Moving Ruston Forward tax was.

“Anytime you do a tax, just like the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) we did for the shopping center, that was in an area where there were no residences. So hotels and restaurants are not residences. If there were residences, houses built around it, you would have to. If not, you don’t have to. It’s a city council vote,” Walker said.

Another question was why the the complex under construction cost so much more than originally estimated.

“The number we used was $20 (million). What I’ve found in four years is everything in government costs more. Yes, it’s costing more, but yes it’ll bring in tons more revenue,” Walker claimed.

The questioner persisted, “Why do we need another $1.75 per hundred. Surely we’ll have enough money coming in to pay for another $10 million.”

“Because there’s no money in the Moving Ruston Forward issue for that, we’re spending it on other projects. This is phase 2, which was not in the Moving Ruston Forward project,” Walker said.

Another questioner suggested that since other cities were building sports complexes, wouldn’t that present competition to the Ruston complex.

Walker: “There’s always that chance. We think because of the quality of what we’re going to have, we’ll get a lot of them.”

One question asked Walker did they ever consider putting the issue up for a citizen vote.

Walker said, “We did consider it, but state law says we don’t have to, so we didn’t.”

18 Responses to “Walker Details “Phase II” of Sports Complex @ Town Hall Mtg”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Walker said, “We did consider it, but state law says we don’t have to, so we didn’t.”

    This is the definition of a jackass.

    • Anonymous Says:

      …ME smarter than you and we don’t want your opinion (vote) that would screw up MY PLAN. As has been said before, ELECTIONS have consequences.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    There are too many “ifs” in his plans. Mayor is surely not thinking about the taxpayers. But then, has he from the beginning of his reign? No.

  3. Mrchickenfest Says:

    Mr walker seems to have big plans for the sleepy ruston I grew up in 10 years ago, if I remember correctly he highly touted the Moto metal deal and there where no ifs there, they had legal contracts in place and let’s look at that deal today. Ruston people from Someone looking from the outside in y’all better vote this tax and spend democrat outta town before y’all having to eat in grambling or west Monroe because it’s 10.00 cheeper a meal. Wake up Ruston!!!!

    • Anonymous Says:

      Can you show me the math on how it would be $10 cheaper in Monroe?

      • Jersey Girl Says:

        $10 cheaper may be an expectation like the expectations Walker is making on all of the figures he’s using in his town hall meetings. “It’ll bring in tons more revenue”, “the number we used was 20 million”. Why did you guesstimate? Was there a study done? Is there a study done that would prove that the Sterlington Sports Complex won’t impact the volume/events Walker is anticipating in Ruston?

    • Jersey Girl Says:

      No transparency at all. Lie after lie. MRF is a joke. It was a platform for Walker to get as much money as he possibly could. He’s hoping for a bronze bust of him at City Hall. The Great and powerful Oz, i mean Walker. MRF is the smoke screen to make Walker great again. Why do we trust him to make good decisions for OUR community is the question. Bonds will run out and that’s when Walker will decide to hang it up. Sure, the sports complex could be great but he has an unrealistic goal and is scrambling to find the money so he wont have egg on his face. He’s all about the limelight and glory. I mean come on, he has KNOE on speed dial and we hear he reserved them a private office at City Hall to use to they can be right there to “capture his good side”. He will allow media to utilize the facilites for free but wont allow the VFW to use the Civic Center for a charity event?? Priorities are out of whack, yall.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    He would not cut the vfw a deal for a fundraiser….but he has so many other groups. And that’s no joke!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Jersey Girl – You mentioned the Sterlington Complex, but Vicksburg is also building a new complex that will be managed by the same company that runs the famous one in Sandusky, Ohio. Also two new ones are being built outside of Atlanta and two in Alabama.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Somebody mentioned, “Why do we trust him to make good decisions for OUR community is the question?” If you will think back to his years in the ministry and banking, etc., you will really wonder why he was elected much less why do we trust him to make good decisions in our community. The problem is, we don’t. Big talker in over his head.

    • Anonymous Says:

      He won 60-40 four years ago and then no one stepped up to run against him this time. That would suggest that people do trust him.

      • Ms H Says:

        Or have recently lost trust in light of recent events. More will surface, trust me. I just hope we will have an honorable candidate in the next election that wants to tackle all the debt and problems.

      • Anonymous Says:

        Not necessarily. They only though they knew the man who can be articulate and extremely persuasive with a pat of the back, big promises and a thank you for all you do which we’ve found to not mean a thing. No one has been more surprised then us and we’ve known him a while. People change, especially where power is concerned.

  7. Ms H Says:

    Taken from an Bayou Life Magazine interview from 2/2015. Take note of the last paragraph. Oh my how things change….

    Walker describes the new interchange as a collaboration between Ruston, Grambling, Tech, GSU and the Lincoln Parish Police Jury. Some 17 years in the making, this project has at times bordered on a fable. But if Walker has his way, that’s all going to change quickly.

    “The money is there. We’ve got the funding,” Walker said. “Now, we just need to get it to bid, to build the project. That’s going to tie the two cities together even more.”

    This is the kind of dynamic action Ponder points to when he talks about Walker’s ability to lead. He describes his friend and colleague as “a force for growth,” which is something Ponder believes Ruston is primed for. “We all have families. We want something for our kids, and you’re either growing or dying,” Ponder said.

    Yet, both Ponder and Walker note that growth should be pursued with a measure of caution. As Ponder stated it, “He’s a citizen and he wants the best growth for the people.”

    That could mean pursuing opportunities as they arise, but not at the expense of the community at large or at other, established presences in the community.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Seems to be a pattern doesn’t it?

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Quite the opposite from “pursued with a measure of caution.” More like a bulldozer plowing through without stopping to look at the specs. A budget is made for a purpose and laws were written to follow and contracts and on and on.

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