Charleston, Kanawha County Leaders Hold First Listening Session on Proposed Sports Complex | WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business
CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Charleston and Kanawha County officials spent Tuesday hearing public comment on a proposed indoor sports complex at the Charleston Town Center mall.
City and county leaders announced the Capital Sports Center last month; the proposed facility would include an aquatic center, basketball courts, indoor grass court, rock climbing wall and elevated running track. Officials estimate the project will involve an investment of $80 million to convert Macy’s former location at the Lee Street parking garage into such a facility.
Officials held the first of three listening sessions at the Ball Toyota Event Center in Charleston, allowing the public to comment on ZMM Architects & Engineers’ proposed layout. Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin noted that some residents have already submitted comments on possible improvements.
“These were just drafts that we released to the community,” she told MetroNews affiliate WCHS-AM. “The way you improve something is to get public feedback, because we can always improve and we can always adjust, but it’s going to be a community hub at the end of the day.”
Adam Krason, architect and principal at ZMM Architects & Engineers, noted that an overriding concern was seating at the aquatic center.
“We had planned for 300 to 400 seats, and apparently it should be closer to 1,200 or more,” he said. “There are these kinds of changes that as the project unfolds – if we are selected to complete the design in the future – we will help implement them.”
Goodwin said the facility must meet local needs as well as the needs of regional and national events.
“How do we use that space so that during times when we don’t have a national tournament, what do we do with that space and how can we adapt when we have national tournaments?” she says.
Goodwin and Kanawha County commissioner Ben Salango discussed the importance of sports tourism to Charleston and Kanawha County. Officials also cited a study by the Sports Tourism and Events Association showing that domestic sports tourism was responsible for more than $39 billion in direct spending by the end of 2021.
Salango knows how to lead an effort to develop a multi-sport complex, having served as the driving force behind the Shawnee Sports Complex.
“Hotels are full, restaurants are full, and it’s revenue here for our small businesses,” Goodwin said. “As mayor, my job is to get more people in front of your small business. My job as mayor is to fill your hotel and another hotel. When we build this facility, we will need a few more hotels.
The next listening session will take place on October 8 at 11 a.m. at City Center in Slack Plaza.