Jacksonville officials talk plans to bring an indoor sports facility in hopes of raising tourism

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) -Folks in Jacksonville could see changes as the city discusses plans for an indoor sports facility.

Leaders brought in a separate set of eyes to evaluate Jacksonville’s sports tourism needs.

“We’re really lacking in that indoor facility and unfortunately what that means for what I do and what I sell is basketball, volleyball, pickle ball, wrestling, judo, I mean anything you can put indoors, indoor soccer, which again, big for our community, we just have nothing to put them in,” said Ashleigh Bachert, the Executive Director for the Jacksonville Onslow Sports Commission.

Sports tourism was the only industry that didn’t take a hit during the recession.

Bachert says the lack of facilities reflects on the economic development of the community.

“We just have nothing to put them in and it hurts when we’re trying to bring economic development in and when we’re trying to give our own athletes a great place to play.”

The indoor facility would feature up to six basketball and 12 volleyball courts, an adventure climbing area and meeting rooms.

City leaders say the hope is to utilize the facility for larger events such as boating or gun shows, or for the older generations, a new fad of Pickleball.

“We get a lot of veterans who retire here and are looking to stay active and getting them that sporting component and a great event to attach to it just means a lot for the community,” said Bachert.

The Jacksonville Tourism Development Authority will revisit the idea at their next meeting in March and hopes to pick a location for the indoor facility moving forward.

The facility would be a 15.7 million dollar investment for the city, but could expect significant revenue over the next ten years.

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