Bojangles Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium to be part of amateur sp - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Bojangles Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium to be part of amateur sports vision

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Imagine Bojangles Coliseum - with it's floor raised -  and more than a dozen courts for basketball, volleyball, and indoor track. Now picture nearby Ovens Auditorium as a miniature banquet hall. And in between the two buildings, a new facility about 67,000 square feet holding several full size basketball court.

That's what the Charlotte City Council's economic development committee is recommending as the city moves to stake a claim in amateur sports.

The city says a UNC Charlotte February 2012 report found that amateur and youth events had "an economic impact in the greater Charlotte region of $232,528,091 for 2011."

"Amateur sports is not an initiative we're pursuing and we want to change that" says council member James Mitchell.

The Bojangles Coliseum/Ovens Auditorium Area Redevelopment - in which the city also wants to acquire adjacent land for a hotel, parking, and or retail - is estimated to cost $25 million. Council members say half of the money will come from the private sector.

The city was hoping to tie the amateur sports initiative to the Bank of America stadium upgrades. But state lawmakers are refusing to give permission to increase the prepared foods tax to raise the money.

Council members say "amateur sports will have to be included in the Capital Improvement Plan process."They believe it will re-energize Independence Boulevard.

Mitchell, who is chair of the economic development committee, says "we think what it will do is add jobs, remake that corridor and once again brand Charlotte as amateur friendly."

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority says amateur sporting events usually book during off-peak periods - bringing an economic impact to hotels and restaurants.

The full city council will decide which projects will be included the capital improvement plan.

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