Plans for a multi-million dollar sports complex in the Fox Cities will be moving forward in coming months.
The new facility will be located just two miles away from Highway 41, the Fox River Mall and Fox Cities Stadium. The 25-acre field is owned by the Town of Grand Chute, just northeast of the intersection of McCarthy Road and West Greenville Drive.
That's where they intend to build a roughly $30 million sports complex named The Fox Cities Champion Center.
"There really isn't going to be a facility comparable to this in the state of Wisconsin," said Matt Ten Haken, director of sports marketing for the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.
He says summer and spring sports are a huge hit in Appleton, but this facility will cover winter sports. The core market will be youth team sports, athletes from 10 to 16 years old.
The building will include competition spaces for three sports; an NHL sized ice rink seating 1000 people for hockey games, and a large area with four basketball courts and eight volleyball courts.
It's a facility project leaders say will practically pay for itself.
"When teams come to visit the area we know they are going to stay at area hotels, and they're going to have some down time and probably spend time at the mall, and also they're going to be spending time at restaurants and other attractions in the area," said Ten Haken.
The $30 million dollar price tag will be covered by hotel room taxes from 10 surrounding communities. The supporting municipalities include: Appleton, Fox Crossing, Grand Chute, Kaukauna, Kimberly, Little Chute, Menasha, Neenah, the Town of Neenah, and Sherwood.
The project will be built around tourism and will drive economic development in the surrounding area. The Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the indoor sports facility will likely bring in around $8.9 million in economic impact in the first years, and $12 million after the fifth year of operation.
"To me it speaks of the vibrancy of this area, more importantly it speaks to the spirit of community leaders that work together and produce these really good results," said Bob Buckingham, the community development director for the Town of Grand Chute.
Ground breaking is anticipated for July of this year, with a grand opening in Fall of 2019.
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