How often do you tell your kids this: “Go play inside!”
A local private resident is hoping an idea he’s been tossing around for a couple of years will catch the fancy of a corporate sponsor (or several) and it’ll be off and running.
That idea: A state-of-the-art $3.5 million indoor field complex for soccer, lacrosse, softball, baseball, football and other athletic activities year-round in Grand Traverse County. A funding campaign has started for the so-named Turfzone Fieldhouse on Facebook. Right now, the effort is considering building name rights, corporate sponsorship and private investment.
Preliminary design work done by local architect David Hanawalt shows a 2-story structure with a “stadium feel” entrance, a 1.7-acre turf field (the approximate length of a standard football field), a possible running track around its perimeter and a clubhouse area. The structure itself is a steel frame, tension-fabric building that is fully insulated and warmed to 60 degrees in winter. The playing surface is synthetic turf with rubber infill (just like Traverse City’s Thirlby Field).
Project proponents say there are several 10-15 acre parcels in the area where such a facility could be located, but two sites have risen to the top of the list: one in the Hammond Road area on Traverse City’s east side and one in Acme.
The two main moneymakers for indoor field complexes such as this are soccer and softball, plan supporters say, but it could work for a multitude of other athletic uses as well as non-sport activities –including car and boat shows, concerts and graduations.
Some of the potential user groups include TBAYS (youth soccer), local field sport leagues, schools, and the Wolves semi-pro football team. And in the same way the Red Wings head north to TC for mini-training camp at Centre Ice, it is the hope this field would attract the Detroit Lions, the Columbus Crew (soccer) and the Ohio Machine (lacrosse).
The facility proposal is currently designed as a for-profit venture, but if someone wants to tackle the nonprofit route, that is also a possibility.
Project supporters argue that with no competing field sport venue within a 2.5-hour drive of Traverse City, such a facility would also attract residents of Gaylord, Kalkaska and other surrounding communities, who would rather come to TC than Grand Rapids or Midland.
While the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA is currently constructing a new recreational facility, no indoor sport fields are part of the development. The county’s Park and Recreation department is also presently assessing the area’s future recreational needs, which could ultimately include an indoor field venue. If that does indeed happen, supporters say the region could easily support two.
Follow this link for a short video showing the facility’s preliminary design. For information regarding sponsorship opportunities, contact Evie Huver at 231.709.3736.