Worcester Co. Officials to Help Fund Study for Proposed Sports A - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Worcester Co. Officials to Help Fund Study for Proposed Sports Arena

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WEST OCEAN CITY, Md. – Worcester County could be home to a new sports arena, if results from a study yield good results.

Worcester County's Economic Development Director Bill Badger gave WBOC an idea of what the multi-purpose sports arena, proposed by Texas-based Hat Trick Consultants, would look like if it was developed in West Ocean City. 

While looking through a booklet, filled with pictures of a similar arena in Texas, Badger said the facility would provide space for concerts, meetings and sporting events. Badger said the county hopes to attract a minor league hockey team, if it is built.

With more than eight million people traveling in and out of the market, Badger said the company thought the Ocean City area would be a good location to develop the project, which would cost between $40 million and $50 million.

County commissioners recently voted to help fund a feasibility study that would cost between $20,000 and $25,000, according to Badger.

"The more facilities we have to attract more people to our marketplace is a good thing, " he said. “Choice is a good thing."

The arena would seat 6,200 people and 8,000 during special events. Badger said more than 400,000 people are projected to visitors each year. The arena would host up to 125 events annually.

"I think it would be great to bring something new,” said Michael Brokoski , who is excited about the idea.

Badger said the study would be done in two phases. The consulting company will do its study and the Maryland Stadium Authority will conduct its own. The MSA will make sure there are no negative impacts on other investments like the Performing Arts Center and the Convention Center, according to Badger.

The impact on the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center falls under that study too. Ethan Kaufmann is worried the arena could have a negative effect on business at the center, if the plan goes through.

"I could see it [ arena] drawing attention away from it [Wicomico Civic Center]” Kaufmann said. “ It's the only thing I've ever went to as far as events for anything.”

Badger said a location has not been decided, but somewhere along the Route 50 or Route 113 corridors is possible. Alcohol at hockey games will be considered. 

The study is expected to last three months, according to Badger.
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