HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hancock County leaders have announced plans to build a multi million dollar sports complex in their community. The idea has been talked about for years as a way to strengthen sports activities for the youth of the county and boost the local economy. If all goes as planned, it won't be long before the project comes out of the ground.
The first phase of the multi-million dollar sportsplex will include eight baseball fields, ten soccer fields and two football fields. A concession stand, restroom facilities and several other amenities are also part of the plans.
"This is something the Board of Supervisors have been working on for a long time and it's finally looking like it's finally going to come to fruition," said Kevin Ladner, Hancock County's Parks & Recreation Director.
The complex will go up on 82 acres off of Highway 603, behind the new Emergency Operation Center currently under construction in the Kiln. County supervisors are in the process of purchasing the land.
"It's a good day for the kids of Hancock County. It's a good day for the citizens," said Complex Committee Member David Kenny.
"A lot of people move into areas that have stronger athletic programs, and I think it will help boost the economy and bring people to our area," Ladner said.
County leaders say a complex of such magnitude will open the doors to hosting large ball tournaments, and that's good news for area businesses.
"The economic impact these sports complexes have on the counties is amazing. And all of the research we have done is $100 per day/per participant and a minimum of 20 teams. You do the math on it; it's just amazing," said Kenny.
"It could be a big shot in the arm for the Kiln," said Ladner.
Phase two of the complex calls for the potential to host even more tournaments.
"We plan on putting basketball, tennis, and we really, really want to put a natatorium out there," Kenny said. "Obviously, money is the thing. And as we get the money, we will do it."
County leaders say once the property acquisition process is complete, the project will go out for bids. Community development block grant funds will be used to pay for the project. It should take about a year to build phase one.