Sports cabinet working to grow recreational opportunities

2013-07-26T00:00:00Z 2013-07-26T00:14:05Z Sports cabinet working to grow recreational opportunitiesSusan Emery Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

VALPARAISO | The newly formed Porter County Sports Cabinet is continuing to gather information for an amateur sports and recreation facilities study.

The group, which includes officials with Indiana Dunes Tourism, the Porter County Plan Commission, Valparaiso Parks Department and Valparaiso University, met Thursday in VU's Harre Union.

Cabinet members were asked to submit the names of local sports organizations and their leaders, as well information about existing athletic facilities. The data will be given to Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, the firm conducting the $134,000 study, which also will explore the feasibility of redeveloping the Porter County Expo Center and fairgrounds into a major entertainment, educational and activity-based complex.

CSL will tour the county and interview the people recommended by the cabinet beginning on Aug. 26. The study will take about three to four months to complete.

Cabinet co-chair and tourism board member Chuck Williams said it's important to know what organizations and facilities exist in the county so CSL can assess what is lacking.

The study will assess the demand, supply and amount of revenue expected to be generated for various youth and adult sports. It could result in the enhancement of existing sports facilities or the construction of new ones.

While hockey, swimming, soccer and softball are among the top areas of interest in the amateur sports market, the study will offer recommendations on what the county should pursue, said Indiana Dunes Tourism Executive Director Lorelei Weimer.

"Truly, this should be our road map of what we can and cannot do," Weimer said.

Weimer said the cabinet chose Indiana Dunes Sports as a name, and a website and Facebook page will be created to provide information to the public.

Though a goal is promote Porter County as a destination for amateur sports that will draw outsiders to boost the local economy, it's also key to get the support of local residents because they will be the primary users of the facilities, Williams said.

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