Virginia Beach city council approves Oceanfront sports center agreement

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach City Council is moving forward with the new sports center at the Oceanfront.

The city approved the $68 million project over the summer, and on Tuesday night voted to pay a company to run it.

However, not all city council members were for it. Councilwoman Jessica Abbott represents the Kempsville district and although she does believe there are some pros to the sports center, she ultimately voted against it.

In a Facebook post to her constituents, she said her main reason for doing so is the debt that the city will take on from the start of the project.

The city will officially be working with a company called Eastern Sports Management.

According to the agreement, the city will pay ESM $15,000 monthly during construction. When the center is complete the management fee will go up to $30,000 each month.

City leaders said the center will put Virginia Beach on the map in the sports industry, but Abbott said the city should be focusing on what it needs.

In the post, she wrote the “debt capacity and allocation should be reserved for critical infrastructure improvements, not for the frivolous ‘wants’ of Council.”

Abbott said she believes that money could be better spent, saying “The irony of funding a $68 million sports center in an area that is sorely lacking a better plan for flooding is not lost upon me.”

Lastly Abbott said she’s concerned that “giving a developer $420,000 upfront before the Sports Center is even built is a business practice that I believe will create a precedent that could negatively impact our City’s future business partnerships.”

The city may get some of that money back, depending on how much the center brings in.

Eastern Sports Management also estimates the City will get about $56,000,000 over 20 years for their initial investment.

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