Sportsplex ready for amateur tournaments and could put Matthews - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Sportsplex ready for amateur tournaments and could put Matthews on the sports map

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MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) -

There's a new recreational complex for amateur sports in the Carolinas but officials in Mecklenburg County and the Town of Matthews believe they've built a Sportsplex that stands out.

"We'll have 12 synthetic turf fields in one complex which will be unique to the entire region - not just Charlotte - it will be unique to the Southeast" says Preston Buckman, of Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation.

Officials say while other cities have recreational facilities, they believe the Mecklenburg County Sportsplex at Matthews will draw large tournaments because it will have a stadium, and several fields that can accommodate many all-field sports, such as football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and rugby.

Buckman says "it maybe one weekend we have soccer tournament. Next weekend we have lacrosse and we'll be playing another sport during the week so having tick marks allows us to convert quickly."

Phase 1 of the project is complete. Five fields will be dedicated Wednesday morning.

Jamie Justice, the Assistant Town Manager of Matthews, says "it is very significant. The benefit is we've got a recreational facility that's going to draw so many different visitors with these different teams to Matthews, to Mecklenburg County."

Town officials says "the $32 million project has 160 acres and is also designed to be a regional park. It is located along the transit corridor in Matthews, conveniently located off I-485 on Tanktown Road. An additional entrance off John Street is planned as Phase II is completed."

Justice says the town is expecting to reap economic rewards from the crowds coming for tournaments.

"We are expecting them to stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, and shop in our local shops and really just help" says Justice. "Spend money in the community and that helps of course with our sales tax and revenues to the town, as well to the county."

The Sportsplex had its first tournament over the weekend. County officials say "39 lacrosse teams from all over - Houston; Ontario, Canada" were in Matthews.

Workers at Kristopher's Sports Bar and Restaurant say they've already seen the spending.

"This past Saturday we had like 2 buses pull in and we had a party of I think 30, and a party of 20 come in" says owner, Kris Johnson, who believes the Sportsplex is going to "be great for Matthews.

Johnson says "I think the economic thing is going to be great. I see a lot people in town. They come in the day before the game - which will help - couple of them I talked to personally. They were shopping in downtown Matthews and then looking for a place to eat after the game."

Phase 11 of the project is expected to be done in two years. County officials say it will add seven fields, more bathroom complexes, playgrounds, and walking trails.

Town officials are hoping other businesses will ride the coat tails of the Sportsplex.

They say "adjacent to the Sportsplex is 120 acres which is open for retail, office and residential development. The Town is working closely with property owners of this land to develop it as a Family Entertainment Complex with businesses that will complement people visiting the Sportsplex."

According to the town, "a 2011 study on the proposed Family Entertainment Complex projects that the impact to the Mecklenburg Regional Economy over the next ten years will be $3.5B."

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