Overland Park abandons plan to use CARES Act funding at soccer complex after pushback

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Overland Park officials announced Monday that they no longer plan to use $350,000 in CARES Act money to install cameras at Scheel’s Overland Park Soccer Complex.

Pushback from one council member has shortened the project’s timeline so much that the city doesn’t think they can complete it before deadline.

Overland Park planned to install the cameras so they could broadcast soccer games, charging a fee for people who wanted to watch online.

Under this plan, Overland Park would have given 30% of the proceeds to Musco Sports Lighting, which would have provided the service. The city would have kept the rest.

City council members who supported the idea said it would support social distancing at the soccer complex, but others argued it’s not what the CARES Act was designed for.

Johnson County commissioners approved the project for federal relief money, but county leaders later said some details — like that Overland Park would make a profit off the project — were left out of the proposal.

Two council members, Dr. Faris Farassati and Scott Hamblin, voted against the proposal from the start and later said they’d work to rescind the controversial funding.

On Monday, the city announced that Hamblin had laid out his plans to the city manager. Hamblin said at the council’s Nov. 2 meeting, he plans to notify members that he will introduce a motion at the Nov. 16 meeting to rescind the purchase approval.

Because of that upcoming motion, work on the Scheels camera project could not start until Nov. 17 at the earliest.

And because all work funded by the CARES Act must be completed by a Dec. 30, 2020 deadline, Overland Park leaders now do not believe the work would be finished in time.

The city doesn’t plan to take further action to complete the project.

“Again, it’s the timeframe,” said Overland Park Communications Manager Sean Reilly. “Any time you receive CARES funding, you have to agree to complete the work by the end of the year, by Dec. 30, actually and with the expectation that there’ll be a motion to rescind introduced Nov. 16, we just felt that neither the city nor the contractor could complete the project in time before Dec. 30.”

Reilly said the money would go back to the county, and the county will decide how it’s used.

“It’s our understanding that money that is not used before Dec. 30, you would return that to the county. What the county does with that money from that point on, you’ll have to ask them”

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