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City of Elko

ELKO – A $2.1 million pledge from the William N. Pennington Foundation will give a major boost to the Elko Regional Sports Complex that the city is developing on the south side of the Humboldt River.

City Manager Curtis Calder revealed the pledge at the May 8 council meeting, and the city officially announced the pledge agreement Wednesday. A ground-breaking for the Elko Regional Sports Complex is planned for 11 a.m. May 16, and work on the complex will start May 21.

“This will be a beautiful and functional recreational facility that the entire community will be proud of,” said Parks and Recreation Director James Wiley.

Plans call for the sports complex to be ready for play in the late summer or fall of 2019. The complex will be on a little more than 61 acres of 80 acres owned by the city at the site.

The late William N. Pennington, a gaming industry pioneer and philanthropist, started the foundation to provide grants to northern Nevada-based organizations for education, community services, health care and medical research, according to the announcement.

“The City of Elko is so grateful for the pledge from the William N. Pennington Foundation,” Mayor Chris Johnson said in the announcement. “Without the Pennington Foundation’s generous support, we could not have moved this project forward.”

Elko City Council recently awarded a nearly $6.78 million contract for the first phase of the complex to Granite Construction Co. The work will include site grading, playing field construction, field lighting, sound wall construction, infrastructure for storm drains and irrigation, electrical utilities and wetland construction.

The city will seek bids later for the second phase, which will cover the comfort station, parking lot, fencing, scoreboard and sports equipment. The city divided the project into two phases after the low bid for a one-phase, more elaborate plan came in at $12 million.

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Calder said Wednesday the foundation originally committed to $1 million, but “after the original bids came in so much higher than expected, the mayor went back to the Pennington Foundation and asked them to consider increasing their pledge.”

The conditional pledge agreement with the William N. Pennington Foundation requires the city to raise or come up with $10 million, or all necessary funds, to complete the first phase of the project, allowing up to $1 million to be raised through cash or in-kind donations.

The proposed city budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 earmarks $8.9 million for the complex, including donations. The city expects costs of up to $1 million beyond the construction contract.

Calder said the city has raised $2.75 million, including the $2.1 million from Pennington and roughly $650,000 from other donors. He said once the city submits construction contracts, the foundation will send a check “on or before Oct. 1.”

“We are actively seeking in-kind donations in the forms of equipment, labor and community projects,” Wiley said in the announcement.

So far, the sports complex is being funded through a combination of room-tax revenues, private donations and in-kind donations. The announcement states the other major donors include Barrick Gold Corp., Newmont Mining Corp. and Kinross Gold Corp.

Individuals and businesses can contribute by contacting Wiley at 777-7266 or the Elko Park Foundation, P.O. Box 501, Elko, NV 89803.

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