WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Indianapolis Colts are set to make their triumphant return to training camp at Westfield’s Grand Park Sports Campus this summer.
The Colts are set to release the exact dates and times of the public viewings Tuesday.
The City of Westfield has grown amid the Colts’ pandemic-prolonged absence and may look a bit different if you haven’t visited since 2019 when the Colts last took the field at Grand Park.
“A lot changed. Last year was a great opportunity for the City of Westfield in that we — once the governor opened us up in July and cooperated greatly, a lot of local tournaments took place,” Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said. “There was some great things that came out of COVID, and I think people are really hungry to get back out here. You know, it’s open to the public, free, you have to get tickets, but there’s no cost.”
Though COVID changed the landscape of Grand Park and forced the Colts to cancel their training camp ritual in 2020, it didn’t change the game. Life at Grand Park continued despite the pandemic pause, much to the surprise of city leadership.
“COVID did not stop Grand Park, and financially, we still made money last year — to our surprise,” Mayor Cook said. “We took a real gamble on creating Grand Park. People thought we were a little off kilter. They asked us, ‘If we build a 400-acre complex, you know, will they come?’
“I got sick of hearing that old line because youth family sports is a huge market. It’s gone from about a $7 billion to this year a $15 billion market all across the county.”
Billions of dollars spent by the more than two million annual visitors to the mega sports park. It’s money that quickly spilled over into the city.
“That was the purpose of Grand Park. Yeah, youth sports, great, but the purpose was to build the industry of hospitality. That’s restaurants, hotels, entertainment, and that has happened greatly,” Mayor Cook said. “There’s a lot of growth in the business of sports, and Grand Park was built to capitalize on the industry of tourism.”
Perhaps no where in the area is that growth more evident than near the corner of Wheeler Road and State Road 32. The now barren field will, among other things, soon be the home of another Portillo’s location.
“Which is a pretty big deal for little Westfield,” Mayor Cook said. “It may not look like it now, but it’s all taking shape.”
It’s money from the mound, with even more on the way as the Colts return.
“It has been a long while, and I know the Colts are just biting at the bit to get out here like we all are,” Mayor Cook said. “This area is just going to explode later this month with activity, and locally, it’s a real sense of pride. I’ll be out there most every day.”
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