The Harvest Foundation Announces $20 million Sports and Recreation Gift for the Martinsville-Henry County Community

October 9, 2006

Martinsville, Virginia - On Monday, October 9, 2006, The Harvest Foundation will host an announcement and celebration of a $20 million gift for advancement on the community’s vision for sports and recreation tourism for the Martinsville-Henry County area.

According to Marshall Stowe, Chairman of The Harvest Foundation Board of Directors, "This gift is a result of ideas that had been informally proposed by various local interested parties. The Harvest Foundation began working in December 2003 to evaluate developing a facility to serve both local residents and attract regional sports tournaments as an economic generator for the community. From there, Harvest Foundation Board member Bob Davis formed a steering committee of City and County residents. Bob led the team through the process of identifying firms to conduct feasibility studies, evaluating their proposals and ultimately selecting PROS Consulting from Indianapolis, IN. PROS Consulting then began the work of market analysis, site planning, operation and finance plan and development plan," said Stowe.

Based on findings and analysis performed by the PROS Team, it was concluded that there was a strong potential to create a new and exciting opportunity in the form of an 80,000 square foot multi-purpose fieldhouse and arena complex located in the City Martinsville and a seven (7) field outdoor soccer complex located in Henry County.  These facilities support the steering committee’s vision of developing a self supporting, regional sports and recreation tourism attraction that meets the needs of the community and creates strong economic impact. 

The feasibility assessment identified market opportunities that can draw from a total population of 6.2 million people within a 100 mile radius of the Martinsville-Henry County community.  Within this population, basketball represents one of the largest markets with an estimated 34 million participation days per year followed by soccer with 13 million participation days per year.  In addition, from a random sample mail survey of 2000 households in Martinsville - Henry County, 85% of respondents indicated that it was important for a new downtown indoor multipurpose fieldhouse and a new outdoor multipurpose sports complex to attract visitors to the Martinsville-Henry County area. 

"To see what has come out of this process is truly remarkable - two cutting edge facilities that will serve our local youth and provide additional tools for economic development," noted Stowe.  Based on community input, the PROS Team recommended that an independent recreation facility authority be established and charged with developing, promoting and operating these facilities in an entrepreneurial environment.  This Authority would be established under Commonwealth of Virginia laws and empowered by both the City of Martinsville and Henry County to fulfill the desired mission and achieve the community’s vision.

Martinsville City Mayor Kimble Reynolds noted, "The citizens of Martinsville and Henry County can count this day as another great step in our community's journey for improving our quality of life and economic development efforts.  This cooperation between the public and private sectors demonstrates what we can accomplish when we work together to fulfill our vision for a better community." 

"This is a monumental day for the people of Henry County and Martinsville, and the Board of Supervisors is committed to their role in it," said HG Vaughn, Chairman, Henry County Board of Supervisors.  "I am firmly convinced that future generations will look at this announcement as one of the key events in this community's history."

Mark Heath, President/CEO, Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) stated, "We owe many thanks to the Harvest Foundation for spearheading this project and to the City and County for their investment in it.  The economic impact of these facilities is phenomenal - 72 permanent jobs and nearly 7 million dollars each year going back to our community.  Those figures don’t include the infusion of jobs and income for the community during the construction phase. These facilities give the EDC another tool to use as we’re selling the community, specifically to retirees and   tourists.  The Arena provides an anchor on the opposite end of UpTown from the Virginia Museum of Natural History and Piedmont Arts.  This has the potential of becoming one of the cornerstones of our long range vision for UpTown, ultimately making it a destination that benefits both the City and the County.  The Soccer Complex, in and of itself is important, but when added to the Speedway, Philpott Lake and the other destination points in the County, it improves the overall quality of life and strengthens our entire approach to tourism."

The gift from The Harvest Foundation confirms their commitment to address local challenges in the areas of health, education and welfare.  Stowe continued, "I am excited to see the project begin to take shape and to know that many generations will benefit from what we’ve announced here today."

The Harvest Foundation was created in 2002 after the sale of Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County.  The Harvest Foundation’s mission is to improve the overall quality of life in the areas of health, education and welfare in the region.

Click Here for an Executive Summary (Adobe PDF - 1.3mb)


Select News Year: