Parks officials push for sports fieldhouse in Salina

SALINA, Kansas – Community members are pushing to get a new sports complex built to provide more recreation opportunities for residents.

Salina’s Recreation Commission is supporting a plan to build a $9 million fieldhouse that would have multi-use indoor courts and turf fields near the intersection of 5th and Iron in the downtown area.

Residents currently use school facilities for recreation, but parks officials say they are outgrowing those spaces.

“It is a fieldhouse concept, and that is not a recreation center in the truest sense; it is more sports-driven,” Salina Parks & Rec director Dion Louthan said. “Based on the need, based on the existing program we have, based on some of the capacities with where we’re at, we think it’s something that might be a good fit.”

Salina Rec Center mock-up – Click to enlarge

If the plan goes through, parks officials are hoping to take advantage of the growth in youth sports tourism and host tournaments that would bring thousands of visitors to Salina and support local businesses.

“I think there’s a lot of people who are excited about the opportunity to bring in some larger events and tournaments,” Louthan said. “I think they’d like the opportunity to host some of those here to bring folks into our community, showcase it and show what it has to offer.”

Louthan says he has commitments totaling $2 million from private sources, and can raise $1 million more, hoping the city could cover the remaining $6 million.

But city commissioners told supporters earlier this week they would rather have the city pay a smaller share, and put the issue to voters.

City staffers say they’ll come up with several plans to give to the city commission for them to consider to move forward with the project in the coming weeks.

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