HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey says the city council has approved the deal, the developer, and the plans to move forward with a $70 million Hoover Sportsplex that will connect to the Hoover Met.
According to Ivey, the multi-event facility will sit on more than 100 acres. The city owns all, but 17 acres which it is in negotiations to acquire from the Hoover School Board, according to Ivey.
“We haven’t built any new fields other than the Miracle Field since 2000 and the park and rec is busting at the seams and it’s just going to do a whole lot for our entire park and rec program,” said Ivey. “Our entire parks and rec program since 2000 it’s probably four times the size it was and the fields were already full. So they’re playing late at night, some of the teams don’t even get to practice because the fields are so full. If we have a rain day, there’s no way for them to make up their game. It’s incredible for the whole thing.”
Ivey tells WIAT 42 News that the sports complex will bring the total number of parking spaces at the Hoover Met to 5,000 and add a multi-purpose facility that can host everything from conventions to indoor sports.
“The building’s going to be 145,000 square feet and the floors have the ability to rotate from anything from a high school graduation, to a banquet to seat 2400 people, to a trade show that can hold 300 booths. It also has the ability to handle like 10 volleyball courts at one time,” said Ivey. “We’ll have the ability for once to graduate our high school seniors within the city instead of going downtown.”
Ivey says the city will issue a bond to pay for the construction. City planners predict a $27-33 million economic impact on the city from hotel and restaurant businesses impacted by the sports complex.
Ivey says the outdoor fields may take two years to complete, but the building should be open by May 2017.
“We’ve been working on it a long time. We’ve looked at several pieces of property and this one makes the most sense because we own the property,” said Ivey.
Hoover residents we spoke with have different takes on the $70,000,000 sports complex.
Andrew Fuller thinks it will change the dynamic of athletics in Hoover.
“A lot more space. A lot more availability. A lot more teams. A lot more competition for athletes,” said Fuller.
“Lacrosse and soccer I know for a fact are growing really quickly and there’s no room for anybody to practice. Lacrosse teams are using soccer fields and soccer teams are using baseball fields even,” he continued.
Chase Thompson isn’t sold on the idea.
“They’re trying to put something in that place, but I don’t think a sports center is the thing to do right there because it’s not going to get filled. If it’s for sports other than football eventually it’s just going to end up being an empty space,” said Thompson.