Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 04/27/2016  

Receive, consider and act upon a presentation on a boat house facility at Northshore Park;
$96,000 is included in the 2015 Capital Improvement Budget for design and consulting services related to the renovation of Northshore Park. The amount allocated is 8% of the projected 2016 construction budget of $1.2 million.   The Board approved moving forward with a revised design at the February 2016 meeting with a cost of $1.195 million, including a 10% contingency ($107,995).
The Township budgeted amount does not include any amount designated for a new boathouse / rowing facility that would replace the existing storage containers. The rowing clubs have indicated a willingness to provide capital support for the aspects of the project related to the design and construction of a rowing facility.

Currently, if a rowing facility were to be added to the renovation of the park, it is estimated to cost between $729,480 (6,000 square feet) and $851,060 (7,000 square feet).  The difference in size is due in part to the inclusion of 1,000 square feet for public kayak, canoe or other small craft storage.  All costs have been factored on $121.58 per square foot which was developed by Burditt (See Attachment A).  Including in this cost per square foot (rowing facility) probable cost are design fees (8%), construction cost, testing and a contingency (7%). 

Several financial models have been prepared ranging from no financial commitment from the Township to $50,151.43 funded by the Township (Attachment B). Both rowing club organizations have committed to funding their share of the facility through existing reserves, donations or loans (Attachment C). In addition, Woodforest National Bank has come forth to provide a $500,000 donation in exchange for  the right to place a sign on the boathouse for a twenty year term (Attachment D).   
Over the course of the past 30 years, rowing has been on Lake Woodlands and at Northshore Park. Since that time, the rowing community has received various approvals (WCA/Township)  to locate storage units at Northshore Park. The size of the units and footprint within the park has expanded due in part to the growth of the community and the growth of rowing.  During the planning process of the Northshore Park renovation the Board directed staff to work with the rowing clubs on developing a concept for a rowing facility in the park, and return to the Board with the plan.
Throughout the past six months, staff has met with the rowing clubs to review their needs, how a rowing facility / boathouse could be included in the overall design of the park and financing options.  Recently, Woodforest National Bank presented a signage/sponsorship  proposal to provide $500,000 to The Woodlands Township to support the construction of a boathouse at Northshore in exchange for placing an advertising sign on the facility (Attachment D). The balance of the project would be funded by the clubs and , if public space was desired to be included in the facility, by the Township.
The selling of advertising rights  is not uncommon in municipal public parks and recreation facilites or school districts.  Conroe Independent School District sold the advertising rights to one of their stadiums to Woodforest Bank ($1,000,000 - 20 years). There are other examples of cities accepting naming rights for public parks and recreation  for  facilities  such as Pizza Hut Park in the City of Plano and the Dr. Pepper Star Centers in Frisco and McKinney.  The Township has not sold any advertising  / naming rights to be placed on any Township facility but has the provision to do so in the agreement with Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for the ice rink facility.  And the Townships has sold naming rights to programs and events such as the CB & I Triathlon, Memorial Hermann 10 for Texas and the  TWFG Muddy Trails Bash  and will be selling advertising rights for signage inside the Ice Rink facility.
The proposal from Woodforest National Bank is to provide $500,000 that would be used to fund  the construction costs of the Boathouse with the balance of construction costs being funded by the two clubs and the Township - if Township space is included in the facility.  In addition, after five years Woodforest would make annual payments of $10,000 to a Boat Fund Account for the regular upkeep and maintenance of the Boathouse and / or the Sign as needed, or to be used by the Clubs for equipment. The term of the agreement is proposed at twenty (20) years.  Placment of such a sign in Northshore Park would be subject to the review and approval of the Development Standards Committee (DSC). Woodforest indicates their desire is for the sign to face only toward the park and be in keeping with the overall park design features and standards.

With a projected cost of $729,480 for a 6,000 sq. ft. boathouse (without Township space) the $500,000 Woodforest contribution would leave $351,060 to be funded by the Clubs (Attachment B).   At this time, each club has different space needs:  Parati = 2,400 sq.ft. & Rowing Club = 3,600 sq.ft.  Therefore, Parati's share would be $91,792 & Rowing Club's would be $137,688.  Each club has presented funding commitment statements (Attachment C).

If the Township is to include an additional 1,000 sq. ft. for public boat storage space, the construction cost of a 7,000 sq. ft. boathouse would be $851,060. The balances would then be: $120,363.43 Parati, $180,545,14 Rowing Club, and $50,151.43 Township.   
The 1,000 sq. ft. of boathouse space could be used for a limited number of kayak / canoe owners ( who may or may not be residents, depending upon the Board policy)  who desire a location to rent space to store their small watercraft at Northshore Park.  One concept for operations is similar to the RV Lot -  renters would get a code, a location on a storage rack and would have access to the facility during park hours.  While there is a perceived need for this service, the demand is not known nor is  the market rate for this service as there are few of these types of facilities in the area.  One known kayak storage area is located in the neighborhood of  East Shore, which is for members of the East Shore Association. Initially members were  charged $30 per month, however the fee has since been dropped and is now free to members. The Lakes Edge apartments in Hughes Landing provides storage space for their tenants inside the apartment complex.  Managing and administrating a public boat storage operation could be performed by the parks and recreation department and such an operation is not anticipated to require many resources  - but the impact is unknown. 

Another possible Township use of the boathouse is another boat rental facility.  With the success of Riva Row Boat House and recently opened Lake's Edge Boat House, staff is not confident that providing similar boat rental services would be profitable.  Renting different types of  water craft such as peddle boats or sail boats might be an option, however, peddle boats on the waters of Lake Woodlands may be problematic and small sail boats rentals could be staff intensive. 

A continuing comment made by residents of the community and visitors to Northshore Park is that the park is beautiful with the exception of the current boathouse/ rowing facility which has been in the park for over 15 years and on Lake Woodlands since the creation of the lake.  Staff feels that the comments were relayed through survey data of non-rowing community members who approved of the use but desired improvement to the storage containers.  The current boathouse is a series of storage containers linked together by a common roof and is a variety of colors- green, beige, rust and black.
One matter for consideration is that of establishing a fair market value / rental / lease rate  for the boathouse for which donations / funding would be credited against the rental / lease rate. The Township has used this method in the past with The Woodlands Swim Team.  The team has donated heaters  to the Township for swimming pools and the value of the heaters was credited against a per hour lane rental fee.  As it is difficult to determine comparative rental market rates for the boathouse facility,  a method that could be used to ensure the public is provided fair market value is to determine a per square foot per year rate based on the capital and operating costs of the facility for a fixed term (10 or 20 years).  From staff’s analysis and depending on the size of the facility (6,000 or 7,000 square feet) the 10 year per square foot cost is $13.66 and the 20 year is $7.58. Based on these amounts the clubs' contributions would expire between 2.8 to 3.67 years at the 10 year rate and 5.05 to 6.62 years at the 20 year rate.  A consideration could be that once the term value of the contribution by each of the club's is applied to the lease rate, the  clubs would then begin to  pay a monthly or annual rent or lease fee at an established Board rate.

Another matter for Board consideration pertains to the boathouse having a public good as the facility requires public land.  Staff submits that public good may be interpreted as space for the Township to provide programs and services to the public; or supporting a unique recreational activity that is available to the general public - which includes contracting The Rowing Club of The Woodlands to provide Learn to Row programs to the general public; or  though addressing the long standing issue / concern of the appearance and esthetics of the boathouse in the park and on the shore of Lake Woodlands; and / or the Township receiving a fair market value (rent/lease rate) for the land provided for the boathouse.

From a review of the information above and in the attached documents the following is recommended:
  • Determine that  a boathouse/ rowing facility at Northshore Park  is in the public good based on the historic use of the park and lake for rowing, supporting community based recreational and competitive rowing, addressing the long standing esthetic issues, and obtaining a fair value for the land / building based on capital and operational costs;
  • Negotiate  a 20 year Signage / Sponsorship Agreement with Woodforest National Bank;
  • Negotiate 20 year Lease Agreements with The Rowing Club of The Woodlands and Parati Competitive Rowing;
  • Amend the current professional services agreement with Burditt for the design, bidding  and construction administration of a 6,000 sq.ft. boathouse / rowing facility at 8% of the total project costs;
  • Return to the Board with the final agreements and for the award of bid.
Authorize the President / General Manager to negotiate a Signage / Sponsorship Agreement for a boathouse at Northshore Park with Woodforest National Bank and  Lease Agreements with The Rowing Club of the Woodlands and Parati Competitive Rowing for use of the Boathouse, with all agreements based on twenty (20) year terms and approve as to form by the Township Attorney; and to  proceed with the design,construction documents and bidding of a 6,000 square foot Boat house; and to return to the Board for consideration of the final agreements and award of bid.
Attachment A - OPC Burditt
Attachment B - BoatHouse Financial Models
Attachment C - Rowing clubs' financial committments
Attachment D - Signage/ Sponsorship Agreement


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