A generous donation for the indoor aquatics and sports complex will depend on the passage of a general obligation bond election, the Norman City Council learned during its Tuesday meeting.
The Trae Young Family Foundation Inc. intends to donate $4 million to the quality-of-life project, which would be paid contingent “upon a successful election in August related to the Norman Forward general obligation bonds and location on the previously identified site in University North Park,” the staff report reads.
Ward 3 Councilwoman Alison Petrone asked City Attorney Kathryn Walker if a location for the facility had been determined.
“So are you saying we don’t have the land yet?” Petrone asked.
“We have the contracts that you all approved last November for the 12 acres that set forth the purchase price,” Walker answered. “That contract said that we would identify the site together, and we’ve done that. So we’re going to file a purchase and settle agreement that will include an option for additional land should the bond issue in August pass, should we need additional land for the facility that (the) bond issue will fund. We anticipate bringing that to the council in the next month or so.”
The estimated cost of the sports facility was initially budgeted at $8.5 million in 2015 when the Norman Forward half-cent sales tax was adopted by voters. The budget increased to $14 million when an ad hoc committee suggested the indoor sports complex and aquatics center should be housed under one roof, the staff report states. The budget increased to $58.8 million to expand the aquatics center’s 25 meter pool to a 50 meter pool, The Transcript previously reported.
The $119.9 million-dollar bond will supplement a slump in the Norman Forward sales tax fund and for municipal renovations and a pandemic business relief program. The election is Aug. 25.
Mayor Breea Clark said news of the donation was well-timed as the city’s kicks off its bond campaign.
“Tonight’s acceptance of this donation pretty much launches our GO Norman campaign to make sure we work hard together to educate the community and get a ‘yes’ vote on Aug. 25,” Clark said. “I want to thank you (Trae Young Family) for a generous donation. I believe it is the largest donation to the City of Norman in the history of our community, one that will be paid out over several years and touch countless lives as we all know youth sports can do.”
Clark read a letter from the family whose son, Trae, is a former Norman North and OU guard who has completed his rookie NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks.
“This will be a world-class facility Norman youth deserve,” the letter states. “We believe a project like this will change the landscape for all families in Norman. Having three kids compete in multiple sports in Norman as well as one younger son, we know the potential sports have to improve the lives of Norman teens. Our children, Trae, Kaitlyn and Cameron, all grew up playing basketball and volleyball at the Norman recreation centers and the Cleveland County YMCA. These were truly great experiences. They were able to make lifelong friends and establish relationships in the community. But now we can offer our youngest son, Timothy, and other young boys and girls even better opportunities. We envision a facility that will change the way indoor youth sports are played in Norman and across the state.”
The letter also states the facility will be a regional draw for competitive sports.
“People will now drive to Norman to play these indoor sports and also experience our hotels, restaurants and shopping among other things that make our city what it is,” it reads. “While this facility will be recognized nationally, our family feels that the continued growth of youth sports will remain a top priority in this facility.”
The council accepted the memorandum of understanding unanimously. The facility will be named after the Young Family, a prepared statement from the city reads. The anticipated address is 24th Avenue NW and Rock Creek Road.