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Fate of Prince William’s $140M sports complex is on the agenda this week


The Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is expected to make a critical decision that could decide the fate of a proposed multi-million-dollar indoor athletics facility.

This article was republished with permission from WTOP news partner InsideNoVa.com. Subscribe to Sign up for your free email from InsideNoVa.com today.

Fate of Prince William’s $140M sports complex is on the agenda this week
Prince William County is considering developing a $100 million-plus indoor athletics facility. (Courtesy MEB)

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is expected to make a critical decision that could decide the fate of a proposed multi-million-dollar indoor athletics facility.

The board has until May 20 to decide whether to finalize the purchase of the $15 million Woodbridge property that is currently under contract by the county with plans to create a national destination for sports and other types of events, as well as a local center for use by athletes. Organizations.

The land will close next month unless the board takes action to terminate the agreement, Seth Hendler Voss, director of the Prince William County Parks and Recreation Department who headed the project, said Friday.

The board’s refusal to buy the land would almost certainly kill the entire proposal, Hendler Voss said. It’s not clear whether the board has the support needed for the sports complex, as concerns abound about the project’s hefty $140 million price tag. But there may still be an appetite to purchase land for potential alternative uses.

Board Chair DeShondra Jefferson, the lone Democrat who is skeptical of the Sportsplex proposal and could be a tie-breaking vote, said in an interview Friday that she would likely support purchasing the land since the site could still be used by the county for other purposes. Jefferson said she was “not at liberty” to disclose other potential uses for the property that are in talks among county officials.

The seven other board members did not respond to requests for comment on whether they would support the land acquisition, but Democrats who hold the majority were largely supportive of developing the sports complex.

The multi-use facility, which could be the largest of its kind in the Washington area, is proposed at 13505 Telegraph Road along Interstate 95, which officials say is ideal for attracting clients for large events from all over the East Coast. The facility will feature a hydraulic running track, hard-surface courts used for basketball and pickleball, and space for conferences or other events.

Fate of Prince William’s $140M sports complex is on the agenda this week
Latest designs for a proposed multi-use sports facility that would contain a hydraulic running track, hard surface courts used for basketball and pickleball, and space for conferences or other events. (Prince William County)

Republicans and Jefferson expressed concern about the cost of the project. Most other Democrats say the facility would be a boon to the growing community and provide young athletes with a state-of-the-art facility close to home to train and compete. They also described it as a potential driver of economic activity for the surrounding area.

Gainesville Supervisor Bob Weir, a Republican who opposes the plan, has said several times in recent weeks that the board lacks the necessary support for the project.

Projections from consultants retained by the county show that if the facility is approved, it would become profitable by its third year of use, generating more than $400,000 in revenue for the county that is expected to grow marginally in subsequent years. But the facility will operate in the red at taxpayer expense for its first two years of operation.

The board has so far spent $1 million to allow recreation officials to begin talks with several contractors to flesh out the proposal. It also represents an agreement reached with the current property owner of the Telegraph Road site, Belno, LLC, for further sale negotiations.

Officials noted that the facility’s closest major competitor would be a similar location in Virginia Beach and Spooky Nook Sports, the nation’s largest indoor sports facility located outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Supporters of the project, including Prince William Economic Development Director Christina Wynn, said it would become a major part of sports tourism for the province and serve as a catalyst for further development in the area. The surrounding area is ripe for additional hotel development that could serve the more than 60,000 visitors a year the sports complex is expected to attract, Wynn said.

Officials say the expected rise in sports tourism will also help boost small businesses in the county as parents travel to their children’s sporting events and spend money on meals and merchandise while staying nearby, sometimes for days at a time.

The county held a number of town hall-style meetings to get input from residents on the proposal. Its supporters include high school student athletes, an Olympic gold medalist in track, local coaches, sports league organizers and members of the pickleball community. Many public school student-athletes, coaches and parents have spoken of the long travel times they endure to attend track meets due to the lack of a nearby facility.

The County Council in 2019 considered creating an indoor sports complex as part of a parks bond referendum program, but the proposal ultimately stalled over cost concerns.



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