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Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:06 AM EDT2013-05-22 13:06:46 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:03 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:03:47 GMT
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Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:06 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:06:40 GMT
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ELIZABETHTOWN, KY. (WDRB) -- A brand new $29 million sports complex in Elizabethtown, Kentucky was designed differently to bring big business to a small town.
"We're ready," says Janna Clark Elizabethtown Tourism. "We have waited a long time to see this park come to fruition."
After three years of planning and two years of construction the Elizabethtown Sports Park sprawls over 160 acres. It has 25 fields for baseball, soccer and football.
Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker explains, "It's an opportunity not only to provide a first class facility for our local kids to play on, but to draw more tourism into our community."
The facility is tailored for the tourist, with complete wi-fi access, covered seating, and playgrounds strategically placed next to ball fields for the children who aren't competing.
Clark says, "They'll be anything from large invitations that bring kids in for two or three days to the super regional level where kids are coming here to qualify to play in large national events."
Leaders here got a deal done when it seemed no one else could. This area has long been eyed for a competitive sports complex, but private developments in Jeffersonville and Louisville both stalled.
Elizabethtown came in funding the $29 million investment itself with money from a tourism tax. The mayor acknowledges that the facility was built before anyone was booked into it. Asked whether the facility was a risk, he replied, "Yes, but one we're willing to take as an economic tool. We have 26 events booked for this year and ready to come."
Those events are expected to generate $5.5 million. But with the final phases of the fields being completed, only time will tell if this park will be a home run.