By Terry Rogers
A pre-bid meeting was held on August 31, as the first step in beginning the bid process for the construction of the long-awaited Kent County Sports Complex. The project, which promises significant economic impact for Kent County, will include 12 synthetic turf fields with lights and amenities. The complex will be known as “The Turf” and is located on 85 acres just north of Milford near Frederica.
“This will be of tremendous benefit to the people of Kent County,” said Cindy Small, Executive Director of Kent County Tourism. “It will protect and preserve jobs as well as increase positions down the road. Restaurants, hotels and many other businesses will benefit from this complex. Milford and Frederica will both see an increase in visitors once the complex is up and running. There will be increased needs for gas stations, convenience stores, play-zone cafes or businesses that cater to children who are not participating in the sporting events at the complex.”
Ms. Small said that even real estate could see an increase after the complex is completed. She said that when an amenity such as the sports complex opens in an area, many real estate agents begin advertising properties that are close to that amenity. Since the opening of the Breakwater and Junction Trail near Lewes, Ms. Samll has seen many advertisements for property noting that they are close to the trail. She feels that once the center opens, real estate ads will begin touting properties that are “near the Kent County Sports Complex.”
The complex will consist of long-field sports fields so that they are suitable for many different sports, including soccer, lacrosse, hockey, competitive Frisbee and even Quidditch, the game made popular by the Harry Potter book series and movies. In addition, because the sports complex will have a 1,500 seat stadium that will be lighted, infrastructure will be available for outdoor concerts and other events when sports are not played on the fields.
“Delaware is becoming known as the East Coast music venue,” Ms. Small said. “What better way to capitalize on that than a mini-concert at the stadium once it is completed? This will be one of the best sports complexes of its type in the country.”
The complex organizers say that there will be a need for family activities in the area on Saturday nights once the complex is completed. During tournaments, there is often a lull on Saturday nights and families who are visiting from other areas of the country who have children of varying ages will want to find activities the entire family can enjoy.
“Businesses like putt-putt golf, batting cages, movie theaters, will all be necessary in order to provide family activities when sports are not being played,” Ms. Small said. “Adding these businesses will be another job generator and will further expand the economic growth, not only in Kent County but in Sussex County as well.”
The Turf will surround a world-class field house complex that will include restrooms, concession stands, office space, locker rooms and a multipurpose room. Athletes will benefit from additional training space for use as a warm up area, stretching and dry land exercises. Games can be viewed from many locations in the complex using the Festival Walk, a convenient, beautiful interconnected walking path. Organizers hope to have the complex open in Fall 2016.