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Delays in potential sale of Westfield’s Grand Park

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The minimum bid to buy the Westfield city government’s Grand Park Sports Campus is $85 million.

The city government still owes $77,000,000 on the property that opened in June 2014. WISHTV.COM first reported in March 2022 that the 400-acre sports park was for sale.

A committee reviewing purchase bids had narrowed the list; however, Grand Park may not sell outright.

“It is our identity,” Scott Willis, a Westfield City Council member, said of the park. “It has certainly been an economic engine for our city.”

Willis said, “Well, first let me say there is no guarantee the park is actually going to sell.”

To sell Grand Park, Westfield Mayor Andy Cook put together a five-member committee to evaluate bids. The exact details of the bids are kept within the committee. Willis says the city would consider a lease, a lease management agreement, or an outright sale of the property. 

Willis said, “From what I’m hearing, they are going to try to narrow their bids down to their top two and take that into their final round of evaluation once that is done.”

If Grand Park is sold outright, the new owner would have to pay property taxes on the 400 acres. The city-owned facility is currently exempt from property taxes.

Willis says taxes could play a major role in who operates Grand Park in the future. “Well, I think the lease could look like a variety of things. I think the primary bid is for an entity or business to lease the entire operation of the park so the city would maintain control of the land, and the business of Grand Park would be leased out to a private entity, but I’m hearing rumblings that there are options to lease out the baseball portion and then the soccer fields. Lacrosse and football fields would be leased under a different entity.”

The committee reviewing the bids has not released a timeline on when it will decide. Any decision would be subject to City Council approval.

The city’s original RFP to potential bidders called for “anticipated commencement date of agreement” of January 1, 2023.

I-Team 8 was told the city government would like to have a deal in place by the end of 2023.