RACINE — After committing $3 million last year to the creation of a sports complex at Pritchard Park, the Racine Unified School Board voted Monday to contribute another $500,000 to the project.
The county committed last year to contribute $3 million as well, and to work toward bringing in significant private funding. So far, the Green Bay Packers secured a $250,000 grant for the project through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program. That grant will fund a state-of-the-art football facility with artificial turf, seating and goal posts.
With the additional $500,000 from the school district, at least $6.75 million has been set aside for the complex.
The sports complex is set to be multipurpose, to be used for football, soccer and lacrosse and will be open to athletes from Unified schools as well as private schools and public schools from western Racine County.
The county is planning a groundbreaking at the end of this month, although no information has been publicly released. County officials expect Green Bay Packers representatives to attend, given the $250,000 grant from the Packers and the NFL.
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All of the Unified funding for the project is to come from its Community Service Fund, which can only be used for projects that primarily benefit the community beyond the school district. The community service fund, also known as Fund 80, does not have a cap, unlike the general tax levy.
Even with the additional $500,000 for the sports complex, as well as additional funds for a new aquatic center being generated through the community service fund, Unified still anticipates a decrease in the tax rate.
“I’m all for collaborating, and I know this effort is going to provide great opportunities for our kids,” said School Board member Mike Frontier.
But he added that Racine County is one of the only three in the state that does not have a county tax, which he said could provide more resources for projects such as this one.
A county can elect to impose a 0.5% county sales tax, but Racine County has not done so.