INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly 10,000 soccer coaches and officials are in Indianapolis for the Coaches Convention and the MLS draft this week and city leaders from Westfield have big plans to capitalize on that excitement.
“This is really Westfield’s introduction to the soccer world of this facility,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook.
Mayor Cook and others will host a VIP reception downtown this week to show off progress on the Grand Park project. When the 360 acre facility opens in 2014, it’ll boast 31 soccer fields, 26 baseball diamonds and other outdoor as well as indoor facilities for a wide range of field sports and fitness activities.
“Travel team family sports is a $7.5 billion industry in America and this park, which will the largest sports complex in America when it opens in 2014, will become Westfield’s industry,” said Cook.
The park is projected to bring in 1.5 billion visitors a year. Cook said he hopes to drum up more sponsorship and schedule more tournaments by presenting the plans and progress for the park at the Coaches Convention.
“The hospitality industry has plenty of room to build hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment to make this a one stop weekend venue for sports tournaments,” Cook said.
Parents in the area believe the park will be good for tax revenue and bringing more jobs to Westfield. Many also said they think the complex will bring a bigger focus to fitness and physical activity in their community year round.
“[Children] need to get outside and the more things there are to do outside, the more variety and more places to go and things to do outside, it’s not nearly as hard to get them off the couch,” said Gahring Saul, a father of two.
Westfield Youth Sports, Westfield Youth Soccer, Indiana Bulls and Indiana Soccer Association are all anchors in the Grand Park development.