FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) - As Baldwin County continues to grow, so does its sports tourism industry.
This year Gulf Shores made nearly $30 million off sports tourism. That number is up from $22.5 million in 2012.
Fairhope Mayor Tim Kant said they’re hoping their upcoming project, a $2 million sports complex will bring in extra tourist dollars as well as provide another amenity for locals.
“The best economic development we could have in Fairhope is people coming and renting rooms at the hotels and spending money in local restaurants. It’s a clean industry and it keeps people active,” said Kant.
Mayor Kant said the complex, which will be built off of Manley Road just near the high school and middle school, will include 10 new soccer fields as well as a track and playground area.
Kant says they plan to host to around 4 or 5 soccer tournaments every year.
“We estimate $50 to $100 thousand in revenue every time a soccer tournament is held. That’s not even counting the fact that when people build homes and move here, it’s even more,”
He said having Airbus in the area will help economic growth and the project could attract families looking to move to the Fairhope.
Officials say the project is part of a 5-year plan to add numerous improvements to the city, including a park, sidewalks and improvements to a indoor/outdoor recreational center.
“We’re seeing nothing but positive things. When people feel good and are excited they spend money and help the economy. It just helps all the way around,” said Kant.
Kant said the project will be presented to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission on November 4 and construction could begin in early 2014. He expects the project to be completed by the end of the year.
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