Wildwood’s City Council is set to vote Oct. 9 on the second and final reading of legislation that could bring a Tough Mudder extreme obstacle and endurance event to Hidden Valley Ski Resort starting in August 2018.
The legislation would create an up to five-year community support agreement between the city and organizers, with the city directly paying up to $20,000 per year to host the event.
On Sept. 25, the council voted 10 to 5 in favor of the legislation on a first reading.
Councilmembers Marc Cox [Ward 4], Glen DeHart [Ward 1], Tammy Shea [Ward 3], Greg Stine [Ward 7] and Debra Smith McCutchen [Ward 5] were opposed. Councilmember Jeff Levitt [Ward 7] was absent.
According to City Administrator Ryan Thomas and Economic Development Manager Julian Jacquin, the city has been working with Hidden Valley over the past year to complete a proposal to host the Tough Mudder event. They said the local event, part of a bigger circuit, is expected to attract about 8,000 racers plus up to 2,000 additional spectators, media and staff to Hidden Valley over a two-day period.
In July, the city was notified that Hidden Valley had been selected as a preferred site for 2018, subject to reaching agreements with both that site and the city of Wildwood, as well as any partners offering in-kind services or funding. Items to be provided by the city for the event would include fire/EMS services, police protection, waste management, portable toilets, parking shuttles and complimentary accommodations for event staff.
Thomas and Jacquin said many of these items would be provided “in-kind” directly by each agency/ vendor, but there are others that would have to be paid for by the city.
They said the full value of the local support to be provided to Tough Mudder is estimated at about $70,000 per year, of which $20,000 per year in direct funding from Wildwood has been proposed.
“The total value of this support package should help Wildwood earn the final site selection over the other competing host sites within the state of Missouri,” Thomas and Jacquin said in a memo to the city council. “This event will bring over 10,000 people to Hidden Valley Ski Resort … and generate significant economic impact for the city’s local businesses.”
Jacquin said the agreement would guarantee only the first year of participation by the city and that any further annual participation would be subject to an annual city funding appropriation.
Shea who opposed the legislation said that, in the event’s first year, the city would be obligated to pay $90 a night for up to 90 rooms, over 2.5 weeks, for Tough Mudder staff at a hotel outside the city, among other things.
“This will cost Wildwood taxpayers quite a sum of money … given to a for-profit company,” McCutchen said. “We’ll be asked to contribute $20,000 for up to five years. [Tough Mudder] wants Wildwood to foot the bill for community services and they want us to do a lot of public relations. We can’t guarantee that money will come back to Wildwood [from an event] that will be on our border with Eureka. I can’t support giving $100,000 to a profit-making company. Let Tough Mudder bring their event, but we shouldn’t have to pay them to do that.”
Though Jacquin said the many event visitors would spend money in local hotels, restaurants and stores and the event would “spotlight the city,” McCutchen insisted “I think we can spotlight the city without spending $20,000.”