By Polly Keary, Editor
Monroe has lost an opportunity to get new ball field turf and the new business that would have come with it, due to lack of funds for matching grants.
Monroe is already host to several good-sized sporting events, such as the Triple Crown softball tournament that arrives each spring. But one thing that keeps sports tourism from growing is that Monroe’s grass fields get muddy.
The City of Monroe and the Monroe School District hoped to achieve a home run for the whole town by seeking a grant from the Snohomish County Tourism Promotion Area. The area is a self-taxing group of hotels that give grant money to applicants with a good idea for how to improve tourism.
The city got good news: the TPA awarded a grant of $200,000 to the school district to upgrade its grass surfaces.
The city identified another $100,000 to put toward the project through the parks department.
But like many grants, the TPA money only was available as long as the entity receiving the grant could come up with matching funds.
And the Monroe School District didn’t have the money.
So Mayor Robert Zimmerman got a disappointing notice from the TPA last week.
“The agreement with the school district has lapsed. The school district has not been able to raise the matching funds needed to get the project started,” the message read. “The TPA board has expressed their desire to support a new request when they have all of their ducks in a row.”
Zimmerman was dismayed.
“We were very excited about this opportunity to complete a hugely beneficial facility for the community and students by partnering with the MSD,” he said. “The completion of these fields has been long planned and long desired and would have provided additional opportunities to develop and promote tourism events, as well as provide a ‘home field’ on campus for Monroe student athletics.”