Plans for new multipurpose complex in Jacksonville

Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 8:57 PM EST
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There's talk of building a new, large scale complex in Jacksonville for sporting events and recreation.

Jacksonville and Onslow County are in the beginning stages of that plan and they say it's an effort to bring more sports tourism to the area.

A meeting was held Thursday to talk about what exactly this facility would be able to do. They're calling it a multipurpose complex. The main motivation is that the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission cannot bid right now on big sport events, such as travel basketball games, volleyball tournaments, cheerleading and dance competitions, and more, because they don't have the space.

The only indoor space similar to what they're thinking of is the Commons Recreation Building, which has just two basketball courts and is consistently booked.

Leaders say sports tourism is chance to grow, and that Rocky Mount and Myrtle Beach have built similar complexes.

Scott Smith, Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission Director says, "We see every weekend folks are going away from Jacksonville and Onslow County for basketball tournaments, soccer tournaments, lacrosse, whatever, so to be able to get others to return the favor essentially and come here for tournaments would be huge."

Michael Lazzara, Jacksonville Mayor Pro Tem says, "When people come here for tournaments they go out to eat, they go to gas stations, they shop, and that's why sports tourism is extremely huge."

The hope is for the complex to have 12 basketball courts. They also talked about being able to host gun shows, and military balls there.

The complex likely won't be a reality very soon as leaders say it would likely cost several million dollars, all of which will come from tourism taxes, and they expect it to take several years to build.

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