We built a freeway interchange. We extended MacArthur Boulevard through fields where corn still grows. Now, the city says, we need more public money for things to blossom across the street from Scheels, a privately held sporting goods company with a massive parking lot that looks pretty empty a decade after opening day. At Tuesday's committee-of-the-whole confab, Mayor Jim Langfelder described a proposal for a sports complex across the street from Scheels as a jump start. Public money would come in the form of hotel-motel taxes – Ward 7 Ald. Joe McMenamin said that the subsidy for the planned sports complex would consume a quarter of revenue collected from taxes on room rentals, which he declared would be too much. Ward 1 Ald. Chuck Redpath said that this is an existential matter for Scheels. "We need them to be here for another 30 years," Redpath said. "If they don't get some help out there, they're not going to be there." "Correct," Ward 6 Ald. Kristin DiCenso interjected. DiCenso praised the North Dakota-based company. "Scheels has been a driving force behind this," DiCenso said. "They've been carrying a lot of weight out there for a lot of years." Dameon Johnson, head of the East Springfield Community Center Commission, which has landed state money to study the feasibility of a sports complex on the east side, was in the audience but said nothing.

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