New sports complex could be built in Wood County

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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (13abc Action News) - A huge sports complex could be coming to Wood County. Rossford, Perrysburg and Maumee have teamed up with The Wood County Economic Development Commission to cover the cost of a feasibility study. The project may be modeled after a massive complex outside Indianapolis.

Those involved with the project say it is nothing more than an idea at this point. That could soon change however, when the results of that feasibility study are released. If the project becomes a reality, those involved say a lot of cities around the region will benefit from it.

Rich Carr is the Mayor of Maumee, one of the cities paying for the study, "I think it's neat seeing governments working together, understanding we can do a lot more together than we can alone."

Grand Park is a massive sports complex in Westfield,Indiana that sparked the idea for a similar complex here. Perrysburg Mayor Mike Olmstead came up with the idea and got other cities and government entities together to cover the $60,000 dollar cost of the feasibility study.

Wade Gottschalk is the Executive Director of The Wood County Economic Development Commission, "We wanted to make sure we took a logical approach and let the people doing the study tell us whether this is something we could look at doing, and something we should consider pursuing down the road."

While the plan is to build the complex in Wood County, where there are certainly a number of suitable sites, it is far too soon to pinpoint an exact site. Gottschalk says there are a lot of other unanswered questions at this point too, "If the study finds that something like this is viable then the second phase of the study would be to pinpoint the scope of what we'd do and what the cost might be."

Mayor Carr says it's somewhat unusual to see cities in two counties working together on a project, but he thinks the region will see more of it soon. He says the potential project shows the value of a team effort, "By coming together and pooling our resources we can do something bigger than any of us could do on our own."

The belief is that the ripple effect from the sports complex would be felt throughout the region, with people often traveling 30-45 miles away from a sports tournament to stay and eat, "Every day people at these tournaments eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also do other things entertainment wise when their kids aren't playing. This could have a huge economic impact from a tourism standpoint. Most of the money would be from outside the region, so it would be new money to Wood County and the rest of the area."

Gottschalk says a big part of the decision will be potential revenue and funding. When it comes to money, there are still a lot of questions, "You'd have to look at the cost benefits. Public, private a public/private partnership how to structure that. The other question would be is there an appetite for investment to get these tournaments."

Results of the feasibility study are expected early next year. If the study shows that it would make sense to move forward, the next steps will include working to firm up things like location and the overall cost of building the sports complex. At this point there is no time frame for the potential project.