Greenville getting closer to great economic development in sports

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The city of Greenville’s study to determine whether to build a new multi-use sports complex came to a close Wednesday and could bring major economic development to the area.

The 2 week survey for public input is one piece of the puzzle. The firm hired to oversee the study is also looking at competition from other sports complexes in the region and how likely tournament organizers are to bring an event to the area.

More than 500 residents voiced their opinions on whether the city needs a sports complex and if so, what kind and for which sports.

“I know personally that we turn away tournaments, events because we don’t have the space and that can be contagious on a bad front. If you start turning away events, eventually those people are going to stop asking,” said Andrew Schmidt, Executive Director for the Greenville-Pitt County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The research firm will meet with city leaders to discuss results and next steps on December 12.

While official results won’t be available for another couple weeks, city leaders recognize the need.

“There’s people that have said hey we need an aquatic center, my kids swim and we have to travel to Greensboro all the time for swimming. I’ve had volleyball parents come and talk to me about having to travel to Raleigh and other places to play volleyball. I’ve tournament organizers, one gentleman in particular, a person that puts on basketball tournaments that said hey if you build this, we can have x amount of tournaments here every year,” Schmidt said.

Just in the last year, sports tournaments have raked in about $6 million to Greenville.

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