Properties Magazine March 2017 : Page 80

Landscapes + Hardscapes Winning Addition Sandusky tourism offerings expand with $23.5 million Sports Force Parks complex By Matt Lehnert & Mark Watt | Photos provided by Aerial Agents O ver the first weekend of March, high school lacrosse teams from throughout the region gathered for preseason face-off scrimmages along the Lake Erie waterfront in Sandusky. The matches sig-naled the grand opening of Sports Force Parks at Cedar Point Sports Center, a 57-acre state-of-the-art sports complex at the former Griffing Sandusky Airport in Sandusky. “The idea is to create an engaging des-tination for families,” says Sports Force Parks Regional Manager Will Spence. Spence notes that tournament parks typically have minimal offerings for other visitors attending a tournament, except possibly a playground or a make-shift concession stand. “We have great food and retail, plus all of these fun, additional activities for players, their sib-lings and other family members to enjoy during downtime.” The lacrosse scrimmages are the first of 40 events already booked at the complex throughout 2017, Spence explains. The busy schedule signifies a strong start for the sports center, which is the first such facility opened by Sports Force Parks, a Canton, Georgia-based company that specializes in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of sports facilities throughout the U.S. While the facility is designed for the family, the fields themselves are made for professional-level play and were installed by a division of Sports Force Parks whose clients include over half of the teams in the NFL, MLB and MLS. “This is our flagship location,” Spence says. “It’s a new business model for us that is focused on sports tourism. We have several others throughout the country that are in different levels of development.” The Sandusky sports center was created as a public-private partnership between Erie County, Sports Force Parks and Cedar Fair, the parent company of Cedar Properties | March 2017 The $23.5 million project caters to youth leagues and tournaments with pro-fessional-grade fields and amenities. The complex includes one feature soccer/ lacrosse field, one feature baseball/soft-ball field, eight NCAA regulation size soccer and lacrosse fields, four 60-foot by 90-foot baseball diamonds, ten youth baseball and softball fields and one adaptive field that is ADA accessible. Boasting an agenda of “Sports – Family – Fun,” the facility is supported by a promenade with concessions and merchandise and an array of additional, fun-focused accommodations: a Sky Trail ropes course, an 18-hole miniature golf course called Putt-In Bay and Sky Bounce, a bungee trampoline, plus a pair of playgrounds. 80

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