Wasilla sports center to get revenue review

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Wasilla is moving ahead with plans to shore up the city's struggling sports center.

The Wasilla City Council voted Monday to spend $50,000 toward bringing the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center out of the red.

The city will issue a request for proposals for recommendations on how to boost revenue at the Menard center.

The center's revenues have never kept up with expenses since its first full year of operation in 2005. Revenues have ranged between $544,000 and $728,000 but operating expenses began at $789,000 in 2005 and are now at more than $1.16 million, according to a city memorandum. Personnel costs make up 64 percent of the operating costs.

The city will also consider leaving dark the position of recreation and cultural director, vacant since the Oct. 9 resignation of former director John Combs. Combs resigned the day after he was reportedly spotted drinking beer on the job during Tuesday Night Fights at the center. Alaska State Troopers later arrested him on charges of driving under the influence.

The position costs the city $114,663 including benefits, according to city documents. The council will also consider spending $20,000 from the city's temporary wage account to hire staff as needed for part-time management of the center. The total savings would come to $96,662.44.

The council is expected to vote on that proposal at its next meeting in November.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.