The Sierra Vista City Council at its May 12 meeting unanimously approved the issuance of up to $25 million in municipal facility revenue bonds to fund the Schneider Electric Project Phase 2.
The total cost of the project is $25.9 million. After Land Water Conservation Fund input, it is estimated to be at $24.4 million.
Schneider Electric provides energy and automation digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability. The Phase 1 initiative with Schneider resulted in five artificial turf soccer fields at Cyr Center Park and the Domingo Paiz Sports Complex, upgrades to sports field lighting and other improvements.
Improvements to the Veterans Memorial Sports Complex will make up bulk of the costs for the project and will be the first to undergo enhancements. The city’s goals are to increase sports tourism by $3 million over the next two years and fully fund the Parks Master Plan over the next decade.
According to the city’s press release, the project is estimated to generate more than $37 million in savings and $101 million in economic impact over its 25-year lifecycle. It advances numerous strategic priorities set by the City Council. It will also save more than 6 million gallons of water each year.
The press release explained that the project will cover the needs and objectives set out by the City Council without requiring additional tax burden as the debt will be repaid by a portion of the city’s sales tax collection reserved for capital improvements.
Parks, Recreation and Library Director Laura Wilson explained that five years ago the department created a standalone division focused on supporting community sports and that local teams and organization have been unable to host tournaments in Sierra Vista due to a lack of suitable facilities.
Efforts by city staff were put into place to examine the challenges local sports organizations faced and they learned there was a strong interest in hosting tournaments locally in addition to support improvement of sport facilities. The city’s economic development team and City Council included sports tourism in the strategic planning process.
“The results have been tremendous,” Wilson said. “The local middle school now plays their home softball games at Domingo Paiz softball fields, the Cochise College women’s soccer team plays half their home games at the Cyr Center Park soccer complex, a mens’ UPSL semi-professional soccer program has started in Sierra Vista, and numerous tournaments have been hosted here, drawing in many new visitors.”
The project will feature a revitalization of the football field at Veterans Memorial Park Sports Complex as well as designing and building Howard Field for baseball and softball.
Enhancements will include additional basketball courts at Veterans Memorial, ADA pathways, new irrigation lines, a new well, a storage tank, booster bumps, new electrical infrastructure and an upgraded HVAC system for the gym.
Sierra Vista goes solar
Faced with the challenges of limited or no renewable energy sources, the city wants to explore different technologies and partnerships relevant to economic development and expand broadband and 5G availability, EV charging stations and relevant emerging technologies.
In the case of solar power, Assistant City Manager Victoria Yarbrough said the city has explored solar energy projects over the years but they never penciled out.
The project will allow for solar covered parking structures at the city hall, library, police department and The Cove.
City Hall will receive a full roof replacement with solar panels.
“We would be pleased if seeing a new solar project at public facilities encourages people to consider adopting similar practices at their homes or businesses,” Yarbrough said.
As part of the City Council’s strategic plan, maximizing the economic impact of the municipal airport is essential.
The airport faces a lack of centralized control from the tower, maintenance issues and old signage.
There will be a replacement of failing runway lights with high efficiency, long-life LED lights as well as a replacement of 8,000 feet of fiber to improve lighting controls.
Economic Development Director Tony Boone said the city needed to prepare the site so it would be ready for potential build, otherwise the development timeframe would be too long and costly to draw interest. The airport has potential to attract industries that would provide growth and jobs.
“That’s why the airport has been a significant focus recently as that project moves forward and we market the property,” he said. “In a competitive environment, a potential business needs to be able to envision their operations at the municipal airport and how we would meet their requirements. The improvements being made as part of the Schneider project aid operations at the airport and improve its marketability to potential businesses that could set up shop there.”
Water and infrastructure
Under Phase 2 of the Schneider Electric Project, the city’s irrigation systems will be retrofitted to conserve water while artificial turf will be used for the old football field at VMPSC. The Cove’s aquatic center will receive new features that will save 1.4 million gallons of water each year.
Sierra Vista is known for becoming the nation’s first EPA WaterSense Community in 2013. The city has formed partnerships and adopted codes to allow for sensible water conservation measures.
Most notably, the creation of the Environmental Operations Park in 2002 (upgraded in 2012) recharges 880 million gallons of clean water back into the aquifer each year.
Currently, Sierra Vista only has two electrical vehicle charging stations. An additional eight charging stations and 11 total charging ports will be installed at different sections of the city to help boost sports tourism while meeting the needs of visitors and residents.
“The installation of EV charging stations is a good example of the city responding to needs voiced by citizens and visitors by implementing emerging technologies,” Yarbrough said.
“Several people have also reached out to the city inquiring about EV charging stations over the past six months. Adding EV stations at our sports complexes complements the city’s sports tourism efforts because it’s something an increasing number of visitors seek when traveling from out of town. The city will continue to listen to its citizens regarding new technologies that may be needed or could improve our community.”
About Schneider Electric
Schneider’s purpose is to empower all to make the most of our energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all. We call this Life Is On.
Our mission is to be your digital partner for Sustainability and Efficiency.
We drive digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, end-point to cloud connecting products, controls, software and services, across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management, for homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries.
We are the most local of global companies. We are advocates of open standards and partnership ecosystems that are passionate about our shared Meaningful Purpose, Inclusive and Empowered values.