Sports complex study funded

December 15, 2004

By Hays Burchfield

Bulletin Staff Writer

The Harvest Foundation has awarded a grant of $100,000 to study the possibility of a sports complex to be located in the Martinsville/Henry County area.

The foundation has selected Pros Consulting based in Indianapolis to head a team of consultants that will complete a market survey, site planning study and a capital and operational cost plan for the sports complex, according to Harvest Foundation Executive Director Harry Cerino.

Cerino said the idea for a sports complex in the area was inspired by people in the community asking the foundation to support the building of a place to play sports such as baseball and soccer.

"We set this ball in motion to produce the best ideas for the community," Cerino said.

Pros Consulting President Leon E. Younger said he is managing the study and will fly to Martinsville for a "kickoff Nancy Sohl 12/14/04 CORRECT one word meeting." The date has not been determined.

He said his firm will be working with Hill Studio based in Roanoke and Leisure Vision based in Olathe, Kan. Younger said the study would be completed in eight months.

The first task to be completed, Younger said, will be a "recreational facility assessment." Leisure Vision will be mailing out a survey to a random group of area residents who will then receive a phone call asking if they completed the survey, Younger said. If they have not, they could complete the survey over the telephone at that time. The survey results and completed assessment will show the needs of the area and how a complex would help the area economically.

"Then we're going to be doing a series of workshops within the community focusing on the community's needs and looking for partners we can work together with," Younger said.

Harvest Foundation officials and Hill Studio employees will work together to arrange dates, times and meeting sites for the area workshops.

Evie Slone, director of planning at Hill Studio, said her company has worked in Martinsville extensively and with Pros Consulting several times.

"We will support them in any kind of public involvement processes," Slone said.

She said Hill Studio will be the "local liaison" for Pros and "will work closely with The Harvest Foundation's board to ensure the correct people are present when working on this project."

After the workshops, Younger said, the consulting team will assess which sports would do best in the region and which would get the most support.

"We'll narrow it down to areas we need to focus on and then develop strategies on doing that business plan that is the best move economically for the city, county and Harvest Foundation," Younger said.


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