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Spotlight on Spending #16: Sparta World Shooting and Recreation Complex

Spotlight on Spending #16: Sparta World Shooting and Recreation Complex

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Published by: Illinois Policy Institute on Nov 02, 2010
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11/11/2010

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Missed Target
Sparta World Shooting and Recreation Complex 
 The Problem
 The World Shooting and Recreation Complex(WSRC) in Sparta, Illinois was completed in2006 at a construction cost of $31.5 million (as well as another $18 million for road, water, andsewer improvement).
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The 1,600-acre facility includes 746 RV campsites, 120 trap shooting elds, and a 34,000 square foot events center.
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  The state-funded facility came fully loaded withhigh expectations. In August 2004, State Rep-resentative Dan Reitz said the World Shooting and Recreation Complex “will be the only statepark in the state of Illinois that makes money.”
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 In June 2005, the director of the Illinois De-partment of Natural Resources (IDNR), esti-mated the complex would bring the state about$50 million to $100 million in economic devel-opment each year, once up and running.
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 Has the Complex lived up to its hype? Not ex-actly. In fact, the Complex’s total projected rev-enue collection from scal year 2004 throughscal year 2011 falls short of the total amountthe state appropriated to the Complex by morethan $1.5 million. The table below features thestate expenditures for the Complex’s operationand maintenance as well as its imprest account, which is used to handle minor disbursements,such as awards for competitions. The categoriesof revenue for the complex include the WSRCEvent Center/Mall/Tent etc., event income,concessions, camping related, sponsorship/advertising, shooting disciplines (individuals),shooting disciplines (groups), and gift certi-cates. The expected benet of increased economicactivity has also not come to fruition. Afterthe World Shooting and Recreation Complexopened in the summer of 2006, the raw salestax data from the City of Sparta shows a slightdecline in sales tax receipts in following years. When the tax receipts are adjusted for ination,the decline becomes more dramatic, dropping below 2002 levels.
Our Solution
Projects such as the Sparta World Shooting andRecreation Complex are often touted for theirpotential to stimulate economic development,
This is part 16 of the Illinois Policy Institute’s Spotlight on Spending series, highlighting wasteful or inefcient  programs and spending with the goal of bringing more responsible spending and accountable government to Illinois. For additional information on state spending, visit www.IllinoisOpenGov.org.
     o     n
Revenues andExpenditures(in thousands)FY04FY05FY06FY07FY08FY09FY10FY11RunningTotal
State Expenditure onWSRC Maintenance,Operation & ImprestAccount Total$986.4 $1,397.0 $112.0 $2,212.2$2,401.2(estimated)$2,625.0(appropriated)$9,733.8Revenue Total$3.7 $879.5 $1,870.2 $1,294.4 $765.2 $877.3$1,000.0(projected)$1,500.0(projected)$8,190.2
Graphic 1. World Shooting and RecreationComplex Revenues and Expenditures
Source: Illinois Budget Books, HB 0859, and a Freedom of Information Act Response from the IDNR

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