ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) -- City leaders will cut the ribbon and celebrate the grand opening of the new Rocky Mount Event Center with a free concert this Thursday.
The 165,000 square foot, multi-purpose facility sits between Main Street and Albemarle Avenue in the heart of Rocky Mount.
The $48 million project, six years in the making, will now host to basketball and volleyball tournaments, weddings, corporate events, concerts and much more.
Visitors can find a Game Day Adventure and Arcade complete with climbing walls, an aerial ropes course, and private rooms to host birthday parties just inside the front doors.
"That's what we want to create for families and anybody that comes into the Rocky Mount Event Center is an experience- a memorable experience that they'll have here," said Ashley Pittman, Marketing Manager for the Rocky Mount Event Center.
A field house can convert to fit eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, or a concert venue.
There's also enough seating to fit 4,400 spectators in the space, which is connected to the center's own, on-site health clinic.
"We needed a strong economic driver for Rocky Mount," said Tameka Norman, spokesperson for the City of Rocky Mount. "And we wanted to reinvigorate our downtown area and build on our history of sports tourism."
Norman said the facility is bringing in 50 new jobs and by the 10th year of operation, is projected to generate $264 million in new spending.
In the center's fifth year, Norman said it's expected to draw 400,000 annual visitors and 46,000 additional hotel room nights.
"We already see private investors who are interested in making investments here in Rocky Mount," said Norman. "And we know already with the events that are planned we're going to have traffic that comes to this area. When you have traffic, you have hotels that come into the vicinity, restaurants."
Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the event center at 3 p.m. The grand opening event, which is free to the public will be held from 4:30-8 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m.
A free concert starts at 5:45 p.m., featuring the Tams and Deep Fried Funk, followed by George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic.
ABC11 Chief Meteorologist Chris Hohmann will serve as emcee.