City to discuss ECUD, sports complex

The city’s water agreement with the Ector County Utility District and the Amy Bell Sports Complex are on Tuesday’s Odessa City Council agenda.

According to materials provided to council members, City Attorney Dan Jones is proposing the city fund the pre-development agreement for the Amy Bell Sports Complex up to $1 million. He’d also like the city to be named the sole beneficiary of the Amy Bell Sports Foundation.

“The City of Odessa has an obligation to its citizens and taxpayers to see that the Amy Bell Sports Complex is successful and act as an advisory body only,” he wrote in materials provided to the city.

The Bell family, which has been in Odessa for five generations, donated 100 acres of land for the City of Odessa’s future sports complex in May.

The donated land, which is worth an estimated $5 million, is located at the future intersection of Amy Bell Road and Faudree Road.

The only thing the Bell family asked in return was for a five-acre park to be included in the project that will be dedicated to Bell, who died at the age of 33 in May 2014.

According to her obituary, Bell established the Amy Doris Bell Donor Fund at the Permian Basin Area Foundation and supported numerous agencies who provide health and wellness for children throughout the United States and the world.

At the time of the donation, city officials estimated the new sports complex would cost $50 million, but said there would be room to expand in the future.

They said it would boast a 75,000-100,000 square foot indoor facility with 20 volleyball courts, 10 basketball courts and a 200m banked competition track. Outside, they intend to build 8-12 multi-purpose fields for soccer, football and lacrosse and up to eight baseball/softball fields.

However, the Texas Tribune reported in September the complex is now anticipated to be $70 million and 140,000 square feet with 30 pickle ball courts, 20 volleyball courts, 10 hardwood courts, a portable 200-meter banked competition track, fitness centers, conference rooms, offices, a concession area, a cafe and a retailer. In addition, outside there will be 12 fields for soccer, football and lacrosse and up to eight softball and baseball fields. There are also plans for athletic training and physical therapy.

The agreement executed with RADDSports on Sept. 19 to “design, develop, construct, equip, manage and maintain” the city and the development shall “develop a budget for the center estimated by the developer to be $70 million.”

Last month, the city announced Occidental and 1PointFive had donated $1 million to the project with a photo on Facebook showing council members Steve Thompson, Denise Swanner and Mark Matta holding an over-sized $1 million check.

The Odessa American filed a Texas Public Information Act request asking for a list of all businesses, organizations and individuals who have invested or donated to the complex, along with any contracts or documents that have been signed.

“This is currently in discussions only. Oxy and 1PointFive have verbally committed to investing/donating per the City Attorney,” was the response.

Councilmember Steve Thompson said city’s sports complex committee decided to increase the size of the project after Matta and Swanner went to Jacksonville, Florida, to look at another RADDSports complex.

“But all we’ve done so far is accept the land. We haven’t accepted the final draft or anything like that of the complex. They’re still working on that,” Thompson said.

The city council will also discuss the city’s wholesale water contract with ECUD Tuesday.

According to materials provided to the council, the city council agreed in November 2020 to supply ECUD water so it could sell it to its customers. The contract contained a rate model that both agreed to.

However, “during a recent review of the ECUD contract by the city attorney, the current ECUD contract may be invalid,” Utilities Director Kevin Niles wrote. “Based on this information, the staff’s recommendation is to renew with ECUD on a month-to-month basis at the current rate of 3.83/1000 until further notice.”

Niles and Jones did not indicate why the contract may be invalid in their materials.

In other matters, the council will also consider awarding three five-year economic development agreements totaling $5.5 million between the Odessa Development Corporation and GCC Permian, Standard Industrial Manufacturing Partners and Liberty Oilfield Services.

During the council’s workshop session at 3 p.m., the council will discuss how the city can begin purchasing fuel for all city vehicles and equipment and hear an update on the water treatment plant rehab project.