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Infrastructure committee approves more than $3.2 million for project with $18 million projected economic impact
Dover, Del. (July 17, 2012) – After three years of meetings and debate, Kent County will be home to a sports complex boasting an indoor facility and 15 fields – including a championship lit turf field – thanks to more than $3.2 million in state funding.
The Greater Dover Committee and Kent County Levy Court resubmitted their application before the Delaware Infrastructure Investment Committee Tuesday in Dover to have the complex built on a parcel of county-donated land near Frederica. Committee members stated that their application qualified for the New Jobs Infrastructure Fund because it created a projected economic impact of more than $18 million annually and the creation of 302 jobs in Kent County.
Unlike previous meetings, Tuesday's session flew by, lasting less than an hour, as both sides came to a quick agreement that this project was a viable one for Delaware.
"This will provide the state with the infrastructure needed to compete for more sports tourism – already a $2.1 billion industry in Delaware," said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. "We're excited about what this means for the future of Kent County and the state as a whole – this will be a big plus for economic development."
Bill Strickland, president of the Greater Dover Committee, has been championing the complex – which will host mainly soccer, lacrosse and field hockey events and could draw up to 10 major annual sports tournaments – for the past three years.
He said the next step was to continue to develop and finalize the funding and to get started on construction of the outdoor fields, which he joked would begin "this afternoon."
"We are ecstatic that the committee saw the merit in the economic development potential of the Kent County Regional Complex Association," Strickland said. "I can’t overstate how appreciative we are of the broad-based support that we’ve received from both our public and private leadership to continue to advance this project."
Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover) has also been a big supporter of the project, rallying key figures and bringing them together – many officials present agreed that approval of the complex was a "team effort."
Bushweller said 302 jobs in Kent County is a "huge number."
"The whole objective of the complex is to create economic activity to bring jobs to our county," Bushweller said. "But in addition to creating these jobs, this project is going to draw more people to Kent County and thus expose them to the recreational opportunities we have here, and the tourist attractions we have here, and to other economic development opportunities."
The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., a division of the Delaware Economic Development Office, promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at www.visitdelaware.com or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.
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