by: Tina Terry Updated:
MATTHEWS, N.C. - Part of a Sportsplex about 10 years in the making will officially open in Matthews Wednesday. The facility was designed to draw big money to the area.
Matthews town leaders said they knew if they helped the county build the $32 million facility, people would come.
"They're going stay in hotels eat in restaurants, shop in our shops and that's going to add revenue to the town of Matthews into Meck county," said Jamie Justice, Matthews assistant town manager.
The first phase of the project on Tank Town Road near Downtown Matthews features five multi-purpose fields and a playground. Soon workers will start the second phase with seven more fields and a stadium seating 2,700 people. Leaders told Eyewitness News that a private development featuring entertainment and retail will be built on adjacent property.
"We get calls every day about new events wanting to come into Charlotte," said Preston Buckman, recreation coordinator and supervisor with Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation.
He said workers already have booked 17 weekend sports tournaments through the spring.
"This is a way to really advance our economy in Matthews and Mecklenburg County," said Justice.
Those revenues are much needed. Earlier this year, the Town of Matthews increased property taxes reporting no growth in revenues. The town also lost money due to the county's troubled 2011 revaluation.
The county and the Town of Matthews helped fund the project. They said the construction of the complex alone will bring up to $85 million to the local economy.
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