Huge indoor-outdoor multi-sports complex proposed to draw events to Durham

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Thursday, June 8, 2023
Proposed multi-sports complex aims to draw events to Durham
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Organizers are hoping for support from Durham City Council when it comes to getting a proposed multi-sports complex in the city.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Organizers are hoping for support from Durham City Council when it comes to getting a proposed multi-sports complex in the city.

"We don't have as many facilities as a lot of other communities have to offer. As we think about how fast Durham is growing, we have got to be thinking about the future and about what kind of facilities we need to have," said Susan Amey, President and CEO of Discover Durham.

Discover Durham, along with Durham Sports Commission, is behind the push to introduce the facility. A proposed concept includes a 250,500-square foot indoor complex for a track, plus a dozen basketball and volleyball courts, as well as 5,000 seats. An auxiliary gym and flex space would be 38,500 square feet for community programming and learning, and an additional four basketball and volleyball courts. The outdoor complex would be 37.5 acres, featuring 8 baseball and softball fields, and four multi-purpose fields. In total, Amey predicts the complex would support 20-30 different sports.

"(Kids) don't have alternative options to go places and release stress or have fun or get things off of their mind. So sports is a great alternative way for it," said Christopher Malone, who lives in Durham.

A former basketball star at Northern High School, he went on to play in college and credited his experience growing up to keeping him on the right path.

"That was one of my outlets as a kid as well. One of the things I loved to do when I came off in school was jump on my bike and head straight to the local park, you know, get some shots with some of my friends in school," said Malone.

Robert Saunders, founder of AAU Brotherhood Basketball in Durham, also supports the idea.

"I think it's very important. I think a lot of kids don't have outlets. So doing things like basketball or football or anything, it could be being creative, doing something like drawing, anything like that. I think it's a very important thing to have for the kids," said Saunders.

This past season, teams in the program spanned from elementary through high school. Saunders believes a complex of this size could attract future events and tournaments.

"We have to go to Rocky Mount, we have to go to Raleigh, we have to go to Charlotte, we have to go to D.C. Those places have those sportsplexes. So why can't Durham do the same thing? Because you can bring those same teams down here and they can see how Durham is and they can see the good parts of the environment," said Saunders.

As part of a presentation, organizers predicted the facility will be profitable by its third year, and have a $35 million economic impact and host 100 events by its fifth year.

At this point, organizers have not publicly identified a site or secured funding for the project. More concrete plans are set to be released later this year.