Sports complex land deal decided, faces board vote

ECONOMIC BOOST—A proposed ball field complex on Ten Mile Road could generate millions in revenue for the area. Kent County Commissioners will vote on granting a  two-year option to buy.

ECONOMIC BOOST—A proposed ball field complex on Ten Mile Road could generate millions in revenue for the area. Kent County Commissioners will vote on granting a two-year option to buy. Photo courtesy WZZM13.com

The West Michigan Sports Commission will have two years to come up with the cash to purchase 90 acres for a proposed ball field complex if the Kent County Board of Commission (KCBC) approves the deal.

The KCBC will vote on the plan, which a finance committee proposed, at their next meeting. The Sports Commission would pay the county’s Department of Public Works $1 for a two year option to purchase the land for $400,000.

According to Mike Gusweiller, director of the Sports Commission, it will cost another $5 million to develop the property into a 12-ball field facility.

Gusweiller said this would be an unusual situation for the Sports Commission. Never before has the organization been the purchasing agent in such a deal.

“It’s not typical. Usually we find a municipality that is interested. The complexes don’t necessarily make a profit. The true dollars are in the economic impact of visitors coming into the area,” Gusweiller said.

The Sports Commission estimate that in the first ten years, having the facility would generate $50 million in hotel revenue alone.

Gusweiller said in this instance no municipality stepped forward interested in purchasing the land. The property is adjacent to the former land fill south of Ten Mile Road and east of US-131.

Potential donors to the project are invited to call Gusweiller at (616) 233-3561.

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