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Friday, August 19, 2011 - 10:10am

Mega Sports Complex Coming Soon

A mega sports and entertainment complex is set to break ground in north Georgia’s Bartow County. A county official says will be the biggest of its kind in the state.

The 1,400 acre project is planned for a site just north of Lake Allatoona off Interstate 75. The private investment group includes some big names, like the former and current managers of the Atlanta Braves—Bobby Cox and Fredi Gonzalez.

Officials say more than a dozen different sports could be hosted at the complex, such as soccer, lacrosse and others. The signature tenant could be a youth baseball company that would bring with it a number of amateur tournaments.

But Melinda Lemmon of Bartow County’s Economic Development office says there’s much more planned for the complex that could bring-in big tax revenue.

“There are lots of additional acres that could be used for hotels, retail opportunities, and other tourist support attractions to the tournaments that will be going on.”

And to draw such a big and unique project in a challenging economy, Lemmon says they're lucky.

“We’ve certainly had to think outside the box in terms of attracting new companies...there aren’t just that many new projects out there. So we’ve been very blessed to have several in the last year or so.”

Lemmon says the county’s helping support the hefty price tag with $500 million in development bonds.

State Representative Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) is also an investor in the project. He tells the Marietta Daily Journal it could result in the creation of 20,000 jobs over the next seven years, an economic impact to Bartow and the city of Emerson of $1 billion a year. And he says Bartow could realize about $20 million in tax revenue.