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$1 Billion Sports Complex Proposed for Emerson

December 17, 2010

A 1,380-ACRE SPORTS AND RECREATION COMPLEX PLANNED FOR LAND BETWEEN INTERSTATE 75 AND U.S. HIGHWAY 41 IN EMERSON IS EXPECTED TO BRING THREE MILLION PEOPLE A YEAR INTO BARTOW COUNTY.

AT THE CORE OF THE LAKEPOINT SPORTING COMMUNITY AND TOWN CENTER IS THE SPORTS COMPLEX, WHICH WILL SPAN 260-ACRES AND WILL INCLUDE 16 MAJOR LEAGUE SIZE BASEBALL FIELDS CALLED “DREAM PARKS AT LAKE POINT” AS WELL AS SOCCER AND LACROSSE FIELDS.

THE BASEBALL COMPLEX WILL BE RUN BY PERFECT GAME USA, WHICH IS MOVING ITS 52-MAN OPERATION FROM IOWA TO EMERSON. JUDY SPARKS, A PARTNER WITH LAKEPOINT SPORTS DEVELOPMENT GROUP, SAYS PERFECT GAME USA IS THE LEADER IN HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL SCOUTING AND RECRUITING. PERFECT GAME USA PUTS ON SHOWCASES AND TOURNAMENTS INVOLVING PLAYERS, MAJOR LEAGUE SCOUTS, AND COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY RECRUITERS, AND IS MOVING ALL OF ITS EASTERN SEABOARD TOURNAMENTS TO THE EMERSON COMPLEX. SPARKS SAYS THE ORGANIZATION’S BUSINESS MODEL IS SIMILAR TO A CARNIVAL BY THE WAY THEY GO FROM CITY TO CITY AND RENT ALL THE BASEBALL FIELDS THEY CAN FIND.

THE SOCCER AND LACROSSE TOURNAMENTS WILL BE RUN BY THE NORTH ATLANTA SOCCER ASSOCIATION AND THE LB3 LACROSSE CLUB.

THE COMPLEX ALSO WILL INCLUDE A 100,000 SQUARE FOOT BUILDING THAT WILL NOT ONLY BE USED FOR BASEBALL, SOCCER AND LACROSSE PRACTICE, BUT ALSO FOR TOURNAMENTS FOR BASKETBALL, VOLLEYBALL, GYMNASTICS, WRESTLING AND CHEERLEADING. NEAL FREEMAN, A PARNTER WITH LAKEPOINT SPORTS DEVELOPMENT GROUP, SAYS THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES WILL HELP RUN THAT FACILITY.

SPARKS SAYS THE COMPLEX WILL BE THE LARGEST SYNTHETIC TURF SPORTS COMPLEX IN THE WORLD. SHAW INDUSTRIES IS EXPECTED TO USE THE COMPLEX AS ITS INTERNATIONAL SHOWROOM FOR SPORTS TURF. THE SOCCER STADIUM WILL BE HYBRID WITH HALF SYNTHETIC TURF AND HALF REAL GRASS.

THE DEVELOPMENT ALSO WILL FEATURE A MIRACLE LEAGUE FIELD FOR HANDICAPPED PLAYERS IN THE CENTER OF THE FACILITY. IT WILL HAVE A CONCRETE BASE WITH RUBBERIZED FLOORING AND A HANDICAPPED-ACCESSIBLE PLAYGROUND.

THE DEVELOPMENT IS PEGGED AS A FAMILY DESTINATION AND WILL INCLUDE MOVIE THEATERS, BOWLING ALLEYS, GOLF CART FACILITIES, MINIATURE GOLF, RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS.

APPROXIMATELY 300 ACRES WILL BE DONATED TO THE CONSERVATION TRUST BUT STILL WILL BE ABLE TO BE USED FOR PASSIVE RECREATION, SUCH AS THROUGH HIKING AND EQUESTRIAN TRAILS.

ANOTHER ASPECT TO THE DEVELOPMENT IS A PROPOSED EDUCATION CAMPUS TO THE NORTHWEST OF THE SPORTS COMPLEX. SPARKS SAYS DEVELOPERS HAVE HAD DISCUSSIONS WITH COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES THAT HAVE COMPATIBLE PROGRAMS IN SPORTS MANAGEMENT, TURF MANAGEMENT, AND HOSPITALITY VENUE AND EVENTS MANAGEMENT TO HAVE A SATELLITE PRESENCE AT THE COMPLEX. SPARKS SAYS THE AREA ALSO COULD INCLUDE A RESEARCH PARK DEDICATED TO SPORTS TECHNOLOGY.

EMERSON’S INTERSTATE FRONTAGE, TWO INTERSTATE INTERCHANGES AND INFRASTRUCTURE IS WHAT MADE THE CITY’S PROPERTY ATTRACTIVE, SPARKS SAYS. IN ADDITION, ONE OF THE DEVELOPMENT’S THREE NOTABLE PARTNERS, FORMER ATLANTA BRAVES MANAGER BOBBY COX, HAS A CLOSE BOND WITH BARTOW COUNTY AS HE OWNS A HOME IN ADAIRSVILLE. THE OTHER PARTNERS ARE ATLANTA BRAVES MANAGER FREDI GONZALEZ AND KANSAS CITY ROYALS MANAGER NED YOST.

SPARKS SAYS THIS DEVELOPMENT IS A ONE-OF-A-KIND FACILITY. SHE SAYS THE ONLY ONE THAT COMES CLOSE TO COMPARING TO IT IS DISNEY’S WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS IN ORLANDO.

PHASE 1 OF THE PROJECT, WHICH WILL INCLUDE THE FIELDS, BUILDING AND INFRASTRUCTURE IS ESTIMATED TO COST $160 MILLION. NOT INCLUDED IN THAT COST ARE THE HOTELS AND SCOUTING TOWERS. THE REST OF THE PROJECT, WHICH PLANS HAVEN’T BEEN SPECIFIED FOR BUT COULD INCLUDE AN OUTLET MALL OR DRIVING RANGE, COULD BRING THE TOTAL COST OF THE ENTIRE PROJECT TO $1 BILLION. THE FIRST PHASE OF THE PROJECT IS EXPECTED TO BRING 2,000 JOBS TO THE AREA AND, WHEN BOTH PHASES ARE COMPLETE, THAT NUMBER COULD RISE TO 4,000.

CONSTRUCTION ON THE PROJECT IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN APRIL, AND DEVELOPERS SAY OFFICIALS WITH PERFECT GAME USA WANT TO START PLAYING AT THE COMPLEX IN SUMMER 2012.

2 comments

  1. Sounds like a winner.


  2. Will they buy us out in Alatoona Crossing



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