By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Parents of young children often pack up the vehicles several weekends of the year to head out to travel ball tournaments.
Local economic development officials want to see if they might be able to get a piece of that action.
Four entities – Wood County Economic Development Commission plus the cities of Perrysburg, Rossford and Maumee – have invested $15,000 each to have a study conducted on whether or not this area could support a massive sports complex.
“I think there is a demand,” said Wood County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Wade Gottschalk. “We all know parents who drive kids to tournaments every weekend. We want to see if there’s enough demand for something of this scope.”
Perrysburg Mayor Mike Olmstead suggested the feasibility study after visiting the Grand Park sports campus near Indianapolis. That 400-acre facility includes more than 31 multipurpose and soccer fields, 26 baseball diamonds, and an indoor soccer and events center.
“It’s a great idea,” Gottschalk said. That’s why experts in the field have been brought in to do impartial evaluations, he added.
If the study finds that such a sports complex would be feasible in this area, then the next question is where, Gottschalk said.
Some suggestions have been made that acreage in between Perrysburg and Bowling Green, somewhere along Ohio 25, would be considered.
“But we’re not to that point yet,” Gottschalk said.
Some signs point to a large sports complex being successful here, he added. There is ample open land, a large population, and good transportation access. “We’ve got better interstate access,” Gottschalk said.
The study will look at the number of people likely to be drawn here for tournaments. “How much can we attract from the outside,” he asked.
A local sports complex would benefit area residents by shortening their weekend drives to some tournaments. But the big win would be attracting business to the region from those families.
“These tournaments draw thousands,” Gottschalk said. “You’ve got hotels being booked. You’ve got restaurants being used. You’ve got stores being shopped at. Those would be new dollars coming into the county.”
Gottschalk doesn’t expect the feasibility study to be completed before the first of 2018.