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'World-class' sports complex on deck for Anderson

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Private investors are planning to develop a $6 million baseball and softball complex on about 70 acres off Interstate 69 in Anderson, officials are set to announce Tuesday afternoon.

Dubbed "The Farm," the project will feature a 100,000-square-foot indoor training facility—complete with two artificial-turf fields—and 10 outdoor diamonds with all the amenities.

Plans for the “world-class” complex have been in the works for a couple years, said investor Brad Benbow, who owns Joseph David Advertising in Muncie.

“There are various facilities scattered around the country,” he said, “but we think there is a void here in the Midwest. It’s hard to find a place this big.”

Another potential draw is the participation of Anderson resident Mike Shirley, a professional scout who Benbow called one of the top baseball instructors in the country. He already operates a small training facility in nearby Pendleton.

Benbow expects The Farm to attract about 30,000 visitors a year—both spectators and players ages 8 to 18.

City leaders hope the project gives a boost to nearby restaurants, hotels and attractions like Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, spokeswoman Tammy Bowman said, and ideally it also will spur additional development.

An independent study commissioned by investors estimate the potential economic impact at $500 million over 20 years, Benbow said.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for April 1, at which point the entire investor group will be introduced, Benbow said. The indoor facility is expected to open in October, and the outdoor field in spring 2012.

Anderson’s City Council is set to vote on economic development incentives for the project on March 10. Details of the incentive proposal were not immediately available.

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  • Most E-Mailed?
    How can this article be #2 on the most e-mailed list with three, now four comments? Someone asleep at the wheel?!
    P.S. I think the sports complex is a great idea for Anderson!
  • Country?
    Ramz - I don't see what's so "country" about a bunch of outdoor ballfields w/ an indoor training facility. Is it because it may be referred to as, "The Farm"? Well, in baseball, fans often refer to the minor leagues as "the farm system."
  • Indiana=Country..get out of this mentality
    Dubbed "The Farm," the project will feature a 100,000-square-foot indoor training facilityâ??complete with two artificial-turf fieldsâ??and 10 outdoor diamonds with all the amenities...great another way to show how Country Indiana is, can you move away from that please? Seriously? Plus, does Anderson of all places deserve this?

    • Uh-Oh
      Westfield is supposedly trying to do the same thing, aren't they? They want to be the "Family Sports Capital of the Country" or some such thing

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    1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

    2. Shouldn't this be a museum

    3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

    4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

    5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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