$1 billion sports complex in Bartow County’s future

BY: Boone Evans

Developers recently announced plans to build a $1 billion sports complex out of Emerson, Ga.

The Park

Dream Parks at LakePoint will lay on 262 acres and intends to include 16 baseball fields and 12 soccer/lacrosse fields.  But that’s not all.  Developers plan to also build indoor sports facilities, hotels, restaurants, retail space, and residential areas that will surround the complex.
If there’s anything that this park could be compared to, it would be Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex, located in Orlando.  The Disney complex, which is the location of the Atlanta Braves spring training site, hosts over 200 events a year, attracting millions of tourists and sports fans.  The relative size of Dream Parks would be very similar to Disney’s.
“It’s going to be Georgia’s sports city,” stated Natalie Springfield, public relations director of the Dream Parks project.

Usually, the choice as to where sports complexes are built relies heavily on the residential communities that surround it.  It’s not quite going to work that way with the launching of Dream Parks at Lakepoint.  This massive development is going to cause house contractors to build new homes in the surrounding areas.

“If you build it, they will come,” Springfield jokingly quoted James Earl Jones’s character from “Field of Dreams.”

Benefits of Dream Parks at LakePoint

The facility plans on drawing 3 million people a year and offering 2,000 to 4,000 jobs.  This will significantly benefit Georgia’s high unemployment rate by offering Bartow County and neighboring county residents work opportunities.

Dream Parks plans on hosting various sporting events throughout the year as well.

Perfect Game USA, a huge organization that schedules baseball tournaments for teams from ages 12 to 16 plans, to make Dream Parks at LakePoint the site of their annual tournaments.  They are the organization that is most responsible for attracting college and professional coaches and scouts to recruit high school aged players.  Their services provide athletes the opportunity to be seen by these coaches, and in turn, result in many scholarships and Major League Baseball draft picks.

Two other anchor tenants that have agreed to make Dream Parks the location of their annual tournaments are the North Atlanta Soccer Association and LB3 Lacrosse.

“It (Dream Parks) isn’t just a place where youth athletes are going to be able to play sports.  It is going to be a place where kids get the opportunity to be watched by scouts and hopefully continue playing the sports they love at the next level,” Springfield added.

Currently, not enough revenue has been collected to begin Dream Parks at LakePoint’s construction.  Developers hope that enough money has been allocated to the project by spring of 2012.

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