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Yukon voters reject youth sports complex proposal

Edgar O'Neal / Red Dirt Report
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Waterpark developer moving forward with plans

YUKON, Okla. – Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected an $18 million youth sports complex that would have enhanced the city’s economic development prospects.

About two-thirds of the voters were against the measure. The unofficial vote tally shows 2,447 voted “no” while 894 people cast votes in favor of the proposal.

Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby said the youth sports complex measure was planned years ago and city officials had cut the cost of the initial plan.

“The voters have spoken,” he said. “We will look at other financial options. It was not only a great opportunity to improve quality of life, but also for financial reasons.”

Yukon council members Earline Smaistrla and Donna Yanda declined to comment about the election failure after Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The bond issue proposal included nine soccer fields, including a championship field, concession stands, restrooms, parking and bleachers. Part of the $18 million would have been used to help four-lane Frisco Road, which is the beneficiary of an Interstate-40 interchange. The sports complex would have been located at Frisco Road and Highway 66.

Yukon is making payments on the land where the complex would have been built. About $3 million of the bond money would have been used to repay the entire debt.

The complex would have allowed the city to host more athletic events, which the city manager estimated could have brought in about $500,000 a year.

Although the bond issue was defeated, developer Scott Myrick said he still intends to build a world-class water park near Frisco Road and State Highway 66.

Myrick, who wrestled at Yukon High School, said he will develop 57 acres of land into an outdoor and indoor water park.

(Edgar O'Neal / Red Dirt Report)

Before the election, Myrick said he would have to scale back his water park plans if voters defeated the issue. Passage of the bond issue would have provided a built-in customer base with dozens of sports teams playing next to his development, which will provide an estimated 200 to 300 hotel rooms.

Demographic data shows 84,000 people live within a three-mile radius of the planned development and about 192,000 live within a five-mile radius.

“It’s amazing to see how spread out that area is,” Myrick said.

Myrick said he believes the water park will be a tremendous success, much like the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark in Grapevine, Texas.

“Indoor parks are popular and growing,” he said.

The waterpark will include a wave pool, three to five big slides, 18 individual slides, a lazy river along the outside of the indoor park, concessions, a kiddie area and a retail gift shop. Myrick said the total development will cost between $30 million and $40 million.

“This is going to be a big time waterpark,” Myrick said. I’m doing it right.”

The waterpark will be about 30,000 square feet compared to the 45,000 square feet that was planned before the bond issue was defeated Tuesday.

Developers plan to break ground in July with a completion target date of late 2018 or early 2019.

“It will be a great family destination,” Myrick said. “I’m really going out on a limb but we have a market for it. It will add value to this community.”

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Tim Farley

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