Proposed Sports Complex Seeking County Funding - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Sports Complex Seeking County Funding

Posted: 10/04/2017 16:16:00 -04:00 Updated:

GEORGETOWN, Del. - Those proposing a $4.4 million sports complex are hoping the Sussex County Council will contribute $1.5 million to the project.

"It's meant to be a park. It's not meant to be a facility for hosting tournaments. We will do some of that but that's not the primary objective," says businessman Joe Schell, the president of the the non-profit Sussex Sports Center Foundation. "The biggest reason is because we want this to be a public facility open to anybody in Sussex County or outside of Sussex County that wants to come and recreate in Sussex County."

The facility would have eight multi-use fields, a playground, pickleball courts, and a cross country running trail that could host meets. Schell says local sports clubs have already voiced their support, with the Henlopen Soccer Club saying it would make the complex their home base. Bobby Horsey, the vice president of the Sussex Sports Center Foundation says the complex would also bring improvements to the nearby intersection of Sand Hill Road, Airport Road and Route 9. 

"I think its important for residents also to realize [...] the 1.5 million we are asking for is not just to improve this complex, it's also to improve everything," Horsey explains. "This complex is the catalyst for the improvements needed for the whole area."

Schell says a federal grant could cover intersection improvements, and their proposal gives the county the option to take over the complex in the future.

"We are not doing this to make money, we are doing this to have something available for the public," he says. "If for some point the Sussex County Council decides they want to be in the parks and rec business like our two northern counties are,  we would be happy to turn over ownership of this facility from the foundation to the county for a nominal amount like a dollar."

The county council is accepting public comment in person or in writing throughout the month. In the past, neighbors told WBOC they were concerned about the potential noise and lights from the complex. Schell and Horsey are hopeful for approval.

"This is a park for all of Sussex County," says Horsey. "This is an important project--a stepping stone to see if Sussex County can fulfill the need of so many citizens."

For more on the complex or how to provide public comment, click here. 

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