Youth sports complex closer to reality in Mishawaka

Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A multi-million-dollar youth sports complex is one step closer to coming to Mishawaka.

The redevelopment commission approved several resolutions for the project Tuesday night.

Card & Associates says their mission is to serve kids.

“We’re not here to cater to the elite athlete. We are here for everybody,” said Founder of Card & Associates Andy Card.

They say there is a big need for this type of facility.

“Mayor Wood has just been outstanding to work with and it’s really important for what we do that there’s support from the top,” said Card.

“It’s a big deal for the community and we are usually embraced, especially because we work with the schools. We work with programs who are already here,” said Card.

Mishawaka leaders and Card & Associates also said it will help grow the economy.

“And we’re trying to figure out ways to fill their hotel rooms and bring business to the community when there was non Notre Dame events... We believe that this facility, full stabilized, will bring... $65 million of revenue that’s not currently coming,” said Card.

Card & Associates has built similar facilities in Indianapolis.

The Mishawaka City Council will vote on the project at a meeting next Monday.

“There is not anything of this size. You have to get out of the state to find something of this size,” said Jeff Jarnecke, Executive Director of Visit South Bend/ Mishawaka. So, this is actually three times the size of the Pacer’s indoor facility.”

Jarnecke says the Mishawaka Field House would have 270,000 square feet with enough hardwood to accommodate ten basketball or 16 volleyball courts. The fieldhouse would also have two indoor turf fields for football, baseball, softball, and soccer.

Hosting youth sporting events like baseball and soccer in the great outdoors in the greater South Bend area has proven lucrative—it has generated 54,000 hotel room rentals a year.

“But what we’re missing is that indoor component,” said Jarnecke. “That indoor component, meaning year-round activities. It means volleyball. It means basketball. It means indoor soccer, football training, so many other things that can take place in this new facility.”

As for the financing, the plan is to have the city float bonds backed by its share of the Hotel/ Motel Tax, and TIF dollars.

Jarnecke says that the facility’s private operator would contribute $2 million a year in facility rental revenues to the cause.

The $38 million facility price tag grows to $54 million after 20-years of bond repayment.

The 49-acre site lies north of Douglas, south of the Indiana Toll Road, and just east of the Juday Creek Golf Course.

“Restaurants may follow. Maybe additional hotels would follow, additional infrastructure would follow associated with this,” Jarnecke said. “That, it’s not meant to be in that location just for itself. The idea would be that it would spur additional economic activity.”

Jarnecke says the facility is expected to draw some 600,000 visitors in its first year of operation.

Plans call for a groundbreaking in February or March of 2023 with a grand opening in 2024.