Groundbreaking held for new Mishawaka youth sports facility

Updated: Jun. 22, 2023 at 6:15 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - New details on a game-changing development in the city of Mishawaka.

St. Joseph County leaders broke ground on the Mishawaka Fieldhouse, a new youth athletic facility near the Juday Creek Golf Course that’s sure to be a hit on and off the fields they’re building there.

They’re looking to build a brand new 220-thousand sq. ft. indoor athletic complex housing ten multipurpose athletic courts, two full-sized turf fields, concessions, bleachers, and medical spaces.

Discussions about this have been in the works for the past five and a half years, but after breaking ground Thursday morning, we could expect to see it fully up and running in the next 12-15 months.

Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood actually sees this as the final piece of the puzzle to taking advantage of a huge opportunity for development and growth.

“We have the development around that. We have the hotels, we’ve got the restaurants, the shops, and all the amenities that building a facility like this supports. We already have that. We were just missing the athletic facility,” Mayor Wood said.

All this construction still comes with a pretty big price tag of at least $38 million, and up to $54 million.

We’ve previously reported that much of the cost is being covered through bond sales, which are backed in a pretty unique way.

Since this facility is expected to draw in tens of thousands of athletes and families to the area, the St. Joseph County Hotel and Motel Tax board is dedicating a portion of those profits back to the complex.

The county gets an 8% tax revenue on all hotel and motel stays. They’re sending 1% of that figure back to the Mishawaka Fieldhouse once it’s up and running.

The project also earned roughly $5.25 million from the state’s READI Grant fund.

“It becomes a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. More stays, more money, and more things that we can do like this. That’s why the right strategy is in the right community at the right time to further propel us here in the county,” said Visit South Bend/Mishawaka Executive Director Jeff Jarnecke.

Jarnecke estimates that traveling youth sports account for roughly 36,000 hotel room nights per year in St. Joseph County. That translates to roughly $24 million in economic impact.

The new Mishawaka Fieldhouse is estimated to boost those hotel stays by another 20,000 nights.

“They’re staying at our hotels or eating at our restaurants. They’re looking for something else to do, because even when they’re here on the sports tourism side, they’re not playing their sport all day every day. So they’re looking for other ways to enjoy and create that experience in the county,” Jarnecke said.

While much of the focus right now is on the Mishawaka Fieldhouse phase, this might only be the start of more development over the next two decades.

“I think you’re going to see expansion around here like wildfire, and I think what I could see it being is a sports and entertainment campus. I would love to see a Top Golf right across the field over here, and I think we have the potential to bring stuff like that to our region for the first time,” said Mayor Wood.

Pinnacle Properties shared with us their newly released master plan to show that potential the Mayor sees surrounding the Mishawaka Fieldhouse and it doesn’t just stop at hotel and retail space. They also include plans for multi-family housing for those who might see this development and decide to make it their new home.

“It will be the first impression of thousands of people who will come to Mishawaka for the very first time and say, ‘Wow, this is a pretty cool place’”, The mayor said.

County leaders also recognized the support and guidance they’ve received from Card & Associates, who’ve brought several other projects just like this one to communities across the Hoosier State.