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story.lead_photo.caption A campaign sign in support of the Majestic baseball complex - File photo by The Sentinel-Record. - Photo by The Sentinel-Record/File photo

City voters go to the polls today to determine whether to authorize up to $8.5 million in bonds to finance the construction of a new baseball complex at the site of the former Boys & Girls Club of Hot Springs.

The bonds would be repaid by revenues from the existing 3-cent advertising and promotion tax. Supporters have stressed during the campaign that the bond proposal does not impose a new tax, or involve a tax increase.

Only voters registered at addresses inside the city limits of Hot Springs are eligible to vote. Poll book software showed 21,987 people are eligible.

Early voting ended on Monday. Through Friday, 713 ballots had been cast early in the election.

Polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today.

Polling locations are the Election Commission Building, 649-A Ouachita Ave.; Webb Community Center, 127 Pleasant St.; Bates Community Church, 419 McClendon Road; Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 109 Hobson Ave.; LakePointe Church, 1343 Albert Pike; Oaklawn First Church of God, 2110 Seventh St.; First Church of Nazarene, 3804 Central Ave.; Creekside Community Church, 1010 Shady Grove Road; Roanoke Baptist Church, 231 Whittington Ave.; and Hot Springs Mall, 4501 Central Ave.

Voters will decide "for" or "against" issuing bonds in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $8.5 million for the purpose of financing all or a portion of the costs of acquiring, constructing, furnishing and equipping a new baseball complex, including particularly, without limitation, new fields, concession area and restrooms and any drainage, utility, sidewalk, signage, lighting and parking improvements.

The bonds will be payable from a pledge of all or a portion of collections of the existing 3 percent tax levied by the city upon the gross receipts or gross proceeds from motels, hotels, restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and similar establishments within the city. The proceeds of the bonds will also be used to provide a debt service reserve and pay costs of issuing the bonds.

The complex would include five baseball fields -- four youth fields and one adult field -- laid with artificial turf. Critics have questioned the cost of the project for five playing fields, but Mike Dugan, a member of the Home Run for Hot Springs Committee, which is campaigning for passage of the issue, has previously told The Sentinel-Record that the artificial turf, while costly, lessens the impact of weather.

Dugan has said the number one complaint they heard from travel baseball parents and coaches was the money lost spent on a weekend traveling for baseball games that were inevitably rained out.

The board of directors for the now-defunct Boys & Girls Club donated what was formerly known as the Majestic Baseball Park to the ad commission after financial difficulties led the Boys & Girls Club of America to revoke its charter last year. The club's gymnasium/office building was donated to Champion Christian College.

Local on 09/10/2019

Print Headline: Polls open today for citywide vote on Majestic baseball complex

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