Kanawha County and Charleston officials this week announced a joint venture to transform part of the Charleston Town Center Mall into an indoor sports facility. The plan will convert the former Macy’s store location and Leigh Street parking lot into an aquatic center, basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts, indoor grass fields, wrestling areas, elevated running and walking tracks, and other recreational facilities. are required to do so.
The Capital Sports Center is an audacious project and an expensive one with an $80 million price tag. Benzarango County Commissioner, one of his proponents of the project, said the costs would be paid using a combination of public and private funds.
Sarango said on Talkline Thursday that he is confident the sports complex will be the engine of the economy. “We don’t even have a shovel on the ground. And I’ve already had restaurants reaching out, businesses reaching out, hotels calling. I am asking.”
It’s encouraging. Town Center Mall, once one of the state’s premier shopping centers, is in trouble. The flagship stores are closed and there are about as many vacant stores as there are open stores.
Sarango and others behind the project hope the sports complex will become a destination for the ever-expanding youth and travel sports market, similar to what happened at Dunbar’s outdoor Shawnee sports complex. I’m in.
“This place is filled with 10,000 athletes and their families. They go to the mall, they eat in the food court, they do what they need to do here.
Similar sports complexes are already profitable in other parts of the state. Bridgeport’s Bridge Sports Complex serves as an important recreation and community center for sports, events, youth and adult programs. Mylan Park, near Morgantown, has sports fields and courts, an aquatic center, gym, and space for events.
There are many studies showing that these types of facilities have a positive impact on the economic and social well-being of communities. They attract visitors and events, and local youth and adults play and exercise We provide a place.
This is a huge investment. Be prepared for a chorus of dissenters who want to denounce this proposal as ridiculous. There are risks, of course, but the success of Shawnee Park and other sports venues demonstrates the myriad benefits that come with the Capital Sports Center.