Ground is broken in Bartow County for the largest amateur sports complex in the nation. It could bring 26 thousand jobs to northwest Georgia.
LakePoint Sporting Community and Town Center will take up 12 hundred acres off I-75 in the city of Emerson. Earl Ehrhart, co-CEO of LakePoint Sports, says it will be the largest such tournament facility in the country. He says it will also be a tourist destination.
Ehrhart says “From water parks to restaurants to retail, to hiking, biking, zip lines, golf course. But it’s all around the 50 or so fields and the indoor facility that are about the 20 plus sports that we have here.”
He says families often build their vacations around their children's sports tournaments.
Al Pallone, Mayor of the City of Emerson says it will be a huge employment boon to the county.
“Our area has been very high in unemployment, around the nine percent plus unemployment rate for some time. We’ve just been struggling.” Pallone says.
Melinda Lemmon, executive director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development, says the complex is bigger than the tournament facilities alone.
“It is sports tenants. And the scouts and tournaments that come along with those sports tenants. It’s the hospitality and retail components of the project. It’s sports medicine, it’s R&D. I’m really even hoping some sports equipment manufacturers may be ultimately attracted to this area because of LakePoint.” she says.
Ehrhart says tournaments for baseball,softball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, tennis, lacrosse, basketball, cheerleading, wake boarding and crew will also draw recruiters from collegiate, minor and major leagues looking for the stars of tomorrow.
Ehrhart says they hope to open in May of 2014.