Article Courtesy of the Marshall Independent.
Proposals for electronic scoreboards and a video screen for the new Red Baron Arena & Expo building in Marshall started a little bit of discussion at the Marshall City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday night. The council voted to approve the purchase of the scoreboards and a video screen costing more than $400,000. But some members had questions about funding sources for the video screen first.
Marshall Community Services Director Harry Weilage presented both items of business to the council. Weilage said work on the interior of the building is making progress. “We’ve started to wind down the building project out there,” he said. Items like scoreboards would help finish the main expo/ice arena space in the building.
Weilage presented a package quote of about $34,000 from Daktronics of Redwood Falls, for two scoreboards, goal lights and other equipment. The scoreboards and equipment would go in the main arena, while existing scoreboards from the Lockwood Motors Ice Arena would be moved into the new facility’s smaller ice arena.
The scoreboard proposal passed 5-1, with council member Glenn Bayerkohler casting the dissenting vote.
It was the second proposal Weilage brought forward that prompted questions from council members. Weilage said the city had a quote of $427,306 from Daktronics for an LED video board, which would also be placed in the main expo/arena space.
“This is one of the more exciting parts to our facility,” Weilage said. The high-definition screen would measure 24 feet by 14 feet, and receive images from five different video cameras. The video screen could be used for sports replay, or for expos and other events. Weilage said there has been “a lot of excitement” about the feature from the area business and sports communities.
“It’s almost a half a million dollars?” said Bayerkohler. “That’s a lot of money.” Weilage said the video board was included as part of the city’s sponsorship agreement with Avera Marshall for the sports center. Under the agreement, a $2 million contribution from Avera included $500,000 for a video board, he said. Avera would also have both sponsor signage in the arena, and the possibility of video messaging on the board.
Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said the city will be negotiating exactly what kind of scoreboard signage Avera would receive. Avera will also have some sponsorship rights on the plaza outside the sports center, he said.
Weilage said amenities like the video board were something that larger sports teams and events would expect, if the sports center hoped to attract them.
Council member David Sturrock asked if the video board was included in the facility’s original budget.
“It came later in the process,” Martig said.
Bayerkohler asked where specifically the video board funding would come from. Avera’s $2 million contribution to the sports center will come from two sources – a special trust created when the city gave a restricted gift to the Avera Marshall Foundation, and excess funds from a Public Employee Retirement Account (PERA) replacement fund.
Bayerkohler said the special trust money was to be used for community health, while the PERA replacement funds were to have reverted back to the city if they were not used.
Back in October, Bayerkohler had raised similar questions about the Avera agreement, saying that some of the $2 million would technically be the city’s own money. Martig said the source of the $500,000 for a video board had not been itemized.
Council member Larry Doom moved to approve the video board purchase. The sports center, he said, “Is something we can be proud of for many years.” The vote passed 5-1, with Bayerkohler casting the dissenting vote.