A proposed sports complex would bring indoor and outdoor courts to Bargersville that could be used by travel teams, adult leagues and school teams that need the space.
But in order for that to happen, the developers want help from the community.
Their request: to bring in the town of Bargersville as a partner on the project with a commitment of $950,000 per year for the next 20 years.
The town could recoup its money by getting schools and other groups to use the courts and fields during the day, and then charging them for that time, developers said.
Developers of the project said they know they can fill the courts and fields during the evenings and weekends, but that the weekdays are their slowest times. And they want to do the project as a public-private partnership in order to meet the needs of the community and to help them with getting the new sports complex going and securing funding, similar to an anchor store in a shopping center.
Exactly how the town’s financial commitment would be paid for is up to the town to decide, developers said.
The proposal is what developers said is necessary to bring a new sports complex to Bargersville, instead of it going to another central Indiana community.
Bargersville officials said they are interested in the project, but need to discuss where the money would come from.
The sports complex has been discussed for more than a year, and has been planned off State Road 135 and Two Cent Road. But recently, the original developer teamed up with the group that designed, built and runs the Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse at Grand Park in Westfield.
The developers have committed to design, build and manage a sports complex in Bargersville, which would include six outdoor fields and 10 to 12 indoor courts, a restaurant and space for physical therapists. They estimate the new facility would bring in 875,000 visitors per year, who would stay at nearby hotels, eat at local restaurants and shop locally. It would have space for multiple teams, including basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling, lacrosse, football, soccer and volleyball.
They plan to borrow $17 million to $20 million, which would be paid back over 20 years. And they are confident the area has enough demand to fill up the fields, especially on evenings and weekends, developers Andy Card and Mike Klipsch said.
But where they want help is during their less busy times, during the weekdays between 2 and 7 p.m.
And that’s where they see a partnership with Bargersville being necessary.
They want to develop a long-term rental agreement, where the town would pay $950,000 per year for use of the outdoor fields and indoor courts during those less busy times, Klipsch said. Then, Bargersville could partner with local schools or other groups who could pay to use the facilities during those times, paying the town back for its investment, he said.
Developers have met with local school districts, but not gotten any commitments from them, Card said.
The group did not do a similar arrangement in Westfield, since Grand Park was already developed, and its fieldhouse there was their first project that could be used as an example of what they could do elsewhere, Card said.
Now, they are discussing similar arrangements in other communities, including north of Indianapolis, northern Indiana and in Ohio, they said.
“If you’re not interested, then others are,” Card said.
The town needs to decide if it wants to create a space for youth sports in its community, and if that is a priority for Bargersville, Card said.
“People want this for the community, but we need a level of commitment,” said Greg Costelow, one of the original developers of the project.
Town council members said they are interested in the project, and want to form a committee to study it further. Their goal is to meet to discuss the project again soon, and also discuss ways the town could fund the annual payment.