Henrico to consider 200,000 square foot indoor sports facility

Henrico to consider 200,000 square foot indoor sports facility
Henrico County officials toured an indoor sports facility in Rocky Mount, N. Car. in preparation for considering its own facility to attract more sports tourism. (Source: Henrico County)

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Sports tourism is big business in Henrico County, but officials think it could be even bigger.

Right now, the County is dealing with a high volume of athletes making their way to Henrico. From July 23 through August 18, seven sports tournaments from baseball, softball to even Quidditch will be held at parks across Henrico.

The County saw $54 million pumped into the economy in 2018, thanks to more than 170 tournaments held at county parks and sports complexes. More than 180 tournament are expected in 2019.

However, officials believe the county’s lack of an indoor facility could be costing it $33 million in unattainable revenue, according to Neil Luther, director of Henrico County Parks and Recreation.

Officials from Henrico County and Richmond Region Tourism recently got a first-hand look at the type of indoor sports facility the county would like to build on a tour Friday of Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

The facility in Rocky Mount contains space for eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, and a 4,000-seat venue space. It cost $40 million and has hosted more than 50 events, including tournaments, concerts, and weddings since opening in October.

Henrico is considering building a 200,000 square foot facility with 12 basketball courts and a 4,500-seat event space to attract basketball, volleyball, and other indoor sporting events, as well as having a place to hold high school graduations, which are currently held at VCU’s Siegel Center.

Originally, a review panel identified the Richmond Raceway complex as a potential location, but negotiations to secure a site stalled.

“We just couldn’t reach agreeable terms,” Luther said.

Since the summer of 2018, six groups responded to the County’s request for proposals (RFP) under the Virginia Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act. County leaders spent much of 2019 in negotiations with two groups.

Now staff proposes inviting the RFP’s six original responders to submit revised proposals that would include a controllable site.

The Henrico County Board of Supervisors is expected to take up the issue Aug. 13.

For more information, visit the Henrico County website.

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