The Abilene Youth Sports Authority is currently working on plans to bring a new indoor sports facility to Abilene.
The facility would house four full basketball courts, four full youth-sized basketball courts, and eight volleyball courts with the possibility of expansion, according to Jon Smith, executive director of the AYSA.
The facility is expected to cost about $8.5 million, and according to Debi Schultz of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, it will provide a venue for many indoor sports.
"It can do anything indoors," Schultz said. “We did a study four years ago and found out that an indoor sports complex is one of our biggest needs.”
This is not the first time AYSA has tried to bring an indoor facility to town. In 2008, the group proposed a $40 million youth sports complex, but voters defeated the proposal by a 3-to-1 margin.
According to Schultz, the proposed facility will be privately funded by investors, and the city of Abilene will potentially provide the needed land.
"This would be a public-private partnership," Schultz said. "The city will help with land and development; the funds will be raised privately."
Smith believes the facility is something Abilene needs.
"Youth sports are the largest segment in the travel industry today," Smith said. “Abilene really needs a multi-court arena for things like basketball and volleyball.”
According to Smith, the exact location of the complex hasn’t been determined, but he hopes to acquire land owned by the city of Abilene.
"This would be a great opportunity to bring folks into town," said James Childers, director of community services for the city of Abilene. "This is a project that has good implications [for] … tourism and travel."
"It would bring in new business and generate new dollars, which would boost economic development in the city," Schultz said.
The AYSA is a private non-profit organization formed in 2004 to help facilitate youth participation in sports leagues, promote healthy activity and to act as a one-stop shop for registration of youth leagues, tournaments, camps and clinics.