New sports complex would be built near Gatlinburg-Pittman High School. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Plans to build a multimillion dollar multi-use sports complex in Gatlinburg are moving along and could be finished in less than 2 years.
Mike Werner, Mayor of Gatlinburg, says he is pleased that plans are moving forward on a project that would build 8 soccer fields, and 9 full size basketball/volleyball facilities near Gatlinburg-Pittman High School. Werner believes it will be an economic benefit for the city with sports teams coming to use the complex from all over the region.
"So people in between their games will have things to do, and hopefully they'll come back for a vacation next year," said Werner. "In the girls you got cheer-leading, volleyball, in the boys it's soccer, lacrosse, and on and on and on."
County leaders are joining the effort with the city, and school board to jointly donate the land to build on. The facility will cost $20 million dollars to build but leaders believe it will tap into a market of visitors not already coming to the Smokies.
"You can do 17 probably 20 sports on those so we're going to go out, actively recruit those youth sports tournaments. and hopefully putting a lot of heads in beds," said Allen Newton, Sevier County Economic Development Council (SCEDC) director.
Newton says projections call for the facility to mature by year 5 and make a $34 million impact on the entire Sevier County economy.