ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - Over the last 30 years, the City of Rock Hill has expanded its efforts to improve sports tourism. Those efforts continue with a multi-million-dollar indoor sports complex in downtown Rock Hill.
From Cherry Park to Manchester Meadows and more recently the Velodrome and BMX Supercross Track, sports tourism has grown all across Rock Hill.
City leaders estimate it has a direct $22 million economic impact on the city every year.
"They bring people from out of town in our community and when they're in our community they stay in a hotel and they are in our restaurants," Chair of the Sports Commission John Gettys said.
The hospitality and prepared food tax int he city generates nearly $7 million dollars annually. The city uses money generated from those taxes to go back into sports tourism. The next project is a $24 million indoor sports arena.
"This is a game-changer for Rock Hill and it's really a game-changer for other sports and activities that never had a home," Gettys said.
The property on W. White Street near Stewart and Laurel Ave. will likely open in late 2018. It is about 190,000 sq. ft. with room for 10 basketball courts, 17 volleyball courts and a championship court.
"With a nice scoreboard and arena seating for a championship game, where we can also partner with Winthrop which is right across the railroad tracks," Gettys said.
Next to the arena is the 4-story, former Bleachery textile mill, which will soon hold retail stores and businesses.
A parking deck and 2 hotels will be constructed on the other side of the arena.
The project is expected to generate another 13 million dollars in economic impact annually, bringing the total to $35 million of economic impact from sports tourism annually.
The property is being developed privately, but the city will lease the arena and will have full operation of the facility. City officials say the lease payments will be paid for from the hospitality and prepared food taxes. So no part of the indoor arena will be paid for by property taxes.
"It's all being paid for by people outside of our community who are coming in to stay with us for these tournaments and things," Gettys said.