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Westfield sports complex scores deal with youth baseball group

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Westfield has locked in a tenant for its planned sports mega-complex in a deal that city officials say will help drive thousands of visitors to the 300-acre site.

The Lids Indiana Bulls, a youth baseball organization for players ages 12 to 18, will host 1,500 teams at the Grand Park Sports Campus throughout the spring and summer season. Westfield leaders estimate the tournaments will draw 100,000 annual visitors, including parents, team members and talent scouts, to the area.

Westfield Mayor Andy Cook, a key architect behind the complex, said the deal helps bolster his argument that the project will be an economic development boon for the growing suburb to Carmel’s north.

Developer Steve Henke will work with the city to build the project, initially estimated at $60 million. It will be financed by a mix of private and public dollars, with the intention that money generated at the facility would cover the cost of its operations. A marketing plan detailing costs and financing proposals will be made public next month.

The goal is to attract commercial development such as restaurants, shops and hotels that would be used by those visiting for the sports tournaments. If that happens, it would strengthen Westfield’s tax base, which is now mostly residential.

“It’s an immense economic development project for our city, with the end result being a much more desirable tax bill for all of our residents,” Cook said.

The city is hoping to firm up more agreements with groups like the Bulls to use the space, which includes 58 outdoor fields for sports such as baseball, lacrosse, rugby and field hockey, in addition to an indoor facility. The city is in talks with other organizations, but Cook said “the Indiana Bulls announcement alone makes our economic model work.”

“There’s this huge growing industry of family weekend tournament sports,” Cook said. “These tournaments are going on all the time.”

The Bulls now play tournaments at facilities throughout central Indiana.

Westfield isn’t the only central Indiana community hoping to capitalize on that budding industry.

Earlier this month, investors announced plans to build a $6 million, 70-acre baseball and softball complex in Anderson that would host players ages 8 to 18.

Westfield officials expect to begin construction on the complex this year and complete the facility by late in the 2012 season. The city’s redevelopment commission would have to sign off on any public financing for the project, and Cook said the city council will be involved in that process, as well.

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  • It's about our kids.
    First, those of you with negative feedback must not have kids in sports. This is a GREAT opportunity for our kids to grow and develop in something that they love to do; not just baseball. It's a "sports" complex. One last thought; there will huge indoor facilities as well, so I don't see this as a "seasonal" deal. There will be activities ALL YEAR ROUND. Thank you Westfield and thank you Indiana Bulls! We can't wait.
  • What a waste.
    I think this will be a flop. I don't think Mayor Cook and the others wanting this, set out to screw over the land, home or business owners over, they just don't care. It's not their property, homes, business that's being taken or affected. Was this ever voted on by the citizens of Westfield? No. All Cook and a few others want is their names to be associated with this waste of taxpayer money.
  • Crazy
    Westfield needs to attract business first and improve their schools so people will relocate there. This field of dream will be a tax burden of debt. Ponzi debt. Pay Peter, borrow from Paul, and bailout James. Good Luck Westfield, build it and I'll use it. I still will stay and eat in Carmel.
  • WHERE IS THE CORN FIELD
    This project is nothing more than a real estate scam at over $100,000 per acrea. What jobs. Do you call hotel and restraunts jobs real jobs. They are minimum wages jobs. Certainly there are going to be concssion stands. I never left a game hungry. Who is going to benefit from the sell of concession. Indiana Bull are a not-for-profit organization they will pay nothing to help the the taxpayers of westfield. I have also seen cost of $30 and $60 Which is it.
  • Not Economically Feasible
    This will end up being a huge tax burden on the city of Westfield. I have been involved with elite traval baseball for several years and this facility will not get the needed attendance it requires to generate the revenue. This is a pipe dream that will ionly be viable 6 months out of the year. There are way too many options for quality baseball tourneys in the midwest and the U.S. too think that if you build it they will come. Wise up Mayor.
  • Finally
    Hopefully this facility puts a fork in the poorly managed tournaments that are put on at Roundtripper. Looks like a win-win for the Bulls and all other area travel teams.
  • think!
    ok for those of you who dont know this thing is going to bring in alot more than just baseball players, also the travel baseball travel season runs April till October, this will be huge, my son plays for the bulls and i live more than an hour away, so just as quick as people are gonna want to move out of the area, i along with others will definately be thinking about moving in! Seriously though, why are we griping about something that will create a few jobs and help boost the economy? all you pecimist make me mad!
  • The suburbs are a waste of resources!
    HAHA! This is pathetic... Indianapolis suburbs (Carmel) have suburbs...

    "growing suburb to Carmelâ??s north"

    Move back to the city, cut out the commute, and gain some culture!
  • Boon for Westfield
    This is a boon for the City of Westfield and Hamilton County in general. After a long day on the field, what would a kid or a teenager want most? Food! Or should we say, Esta, APPLEBEE'S! Of course restaurants are going to come along with this deal. All along 32 would be a great location and even if they the tournaments are only three days a week, the residents of Westfield and fellow travelers along 31 & 32 will stop in and eat at them. As well these can be multiple day events and teams don't just come from around Indiana. These teams that join in the tournaments are from all around. So hotels will be a must. Obviously you people don't know what the Bull's are involved with. The area is growing and everyone moving into Hamilton county of all places should know that. We've only been one of the fastest growing counties in the country 20 years running. Now please look at it this way, this is a good project that will lower your taxes because it does not add a load of kids to the school system, just to our restaurants, parks, and hotels (which will bring us $$$$).
  • Did we ever get a say in this??
    I agree with Harvey! Did we ever get a say in this? I sure don't remember this going to a vote for the residents of Westfield. I moved here to enjoy the beautiful countryside... not 58 outdoor fields. What kind of city planning is this? I agree Harvey... sadly, it's time to move!
  • Must be missing something
    Why would a restaurant or retail business want to locate near a place that generates commercial traffic four months out of the year and two days per week?
  • On The Bright Side
    Just think of all the (Cr)Appleby's and Chili's that will be needed!!!
  • Really
    Hundreds of thousands of kids descending upon Carmel and Westfield all summer every year - is that what the community really wants? Sounds like a total mess to me.

    I know I'm a certified curmudgeon but the idea of everyhere I would go in Carmel/Westfield every summer being flooded with kids seems like a really bad idea and will make residents miserable and go elsewhere to spend their money. And the thing is that the kids and their parents will just be hanging around at Clay Terrace, in downtown Carmel, etc. not spending any real money other than to eat and stay at a hotel.

    Maybe it is time to move.

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