ELKHART – It’s a phrase we’re hearing more in cities around the country. It’s called “sports travel tourism.”
That’s where communities build a sports complex or athletic facility that becomes a destination, where folks stay and spend money, boosting the local economy.
A study will soon begin in Elkhart to see if such a facility could be feasible on the city’s north side.
“We want to understand who the users of this might be, and if this is an area that could be competitive for a facility like that,” said Mike Huber of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A study will soon get underway to see if a recreational multi-use sports facility would work near the North Pointe shopping complex.
“Some of this sports travel tourism has started to pop up on our radar, and we think that could be a potential redevelopment use for the shopping center area over here,” Huber added.
The study, among other things, would look at the demand for such a facility centered around the North Pointe neighborhood, the number of groups that would use it, and a look at the existing competing facilities in the area.
“I want to mention we are looking at indoor uses, potential indoor uses,” Huber said. “We’re looking at outdoor uses. We want to make sure we are looking at all the different activities that could be used here.”
The project is still in the discussion stage until a study concerning market demand and the feasibility of such a project is complete.
But local hotels and restaurants there say they see the advantage of having one in the area.
“Bringing people, extra families, sports fans into our neighborhood would be excellent,” said Sandy Crocker of Perkins Restaurant. “We could really use the boost for our hotels, our shopping and for people to join us for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
If the idea receives a favorable review, no tax dollars would be used for it.
The Elkhart Redevelopment Commission would seek out private developers for that.