By Karen Daniels
At the November 20, Council meeting, Tuyen Van approached Stafford City Council asking for nearly $24K in financial assistance for a new badminton center. The site being considered for purchase is located at West Airport and Murphy Road, across from Luby’s. The breakdown is: $10K in waived building permit fees and $14K to the W.C.I.D.#2 for water tap fees. Van has a plan to pay back the city for the $10K permit fees, scheduled over four years, based on the amount of sales tax generated. He originally approached the W.C.I.D.#2 for their fee waiver, but his request was denied.
Badminton is growing in popularity in the United States, though it’s most popular in Europe and Asia. According to Mr. Van, at this time there are 41 specific badminton courts in the Unites States, 34 since 2008. This proposed business would make this the first in Texas. Currently badminton games and competitions are held around town in various recreational facilities, churches, and clubs, but their ceilings are too low and their scheduling for usage is usually limited to one or two nights per week.
The plan for this new facility in Stafford would be a 23K square-foot building with 30 foot ceilings and 10 courts dedicated for 100% usage to badminton or pick-a-ball. Memberships, walk-in rentals, and lessons will be available. This is a 3 million dollar project that would only create three jobs, but, according to Mr. Van, promote “fitness, friends and families.”
Mayor Leonard Scarcella and Councilmembers had many questions. The mayor stated that “sales tax is the life blood of this City” and pointed out that “in two years you will save more money by being in Stafford just from no property tax than you’re asking us to give.” Board members admired the idea and concept, but were concerned with setting a precedence.
City Attorney, Art Pertile, explained it did not set a precedence, and that the city can decide on incentives for each individual projects. The mayor stated that he wanted a “level playing field that everyone was entitled to.” No motion was made, essentially denying the request.
Mr. Van was told by Council that they hoped he would still bring his business idea to Stafford.