Borough officials revive indoor sports complex idea

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials are looking into partnering with a developer to build a multi-sport indoor complex in Naugatuck.

“I get requests all the time for an indoor sports complex,” said Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess during the Board of Mayor and Burgesses’ Nov. 6 meeting. “I think it’s much more achievable now than it was in the past.”

Officials explored the idea of an indoor sports complex a few years ago, Hess said. At that time, he said, they were looking at a project that would cost about $20 to $30 million. Officials were unable to locate a developer that could make that investment and the proposal never got off the ground.

Hess said representatives of Arizon Building Systems, a company that builds sports complexes across the country, recently approached him about possibly building one in Naugatuck.

Hess envisions a complex similar to a large indoor sports complex recently built in East Windsor called Sports World.

“This would be a good addition to our Parks and Rec repertoire and take us right through the winter and help all the sports,” Hess said.

Officials last week discussed preliminary ideas of how the borough could bring the idea to fruition.

Hess said the best-case scenario would be for a developer to build the complex without the borough spending any money for it. He hopes to eventually issue a request for proposals for a developer.

Hess said it costs about $13 to $15 per square foot to build such a complex and the average size is about 75,000 square feet.

“I don’t see it as a town-run facility. It could be,” Hess said. “It could be run privately. I think private would be better.”

Hess said there are three possible locations for the complex under consideration, two sites on Andrew Mountain Road — one that’s behind the Naugatuck Dog Park — and borough-owned land near Cotton Hollow Road.

The complex would host various sports, including soccer, basketball, football and lacrosse. A committee including borough officials and residents will delve deeper into the proposal and visit area complexes to get the ball rolling.

Burgess Michael Bronko questioned whether the complex can include an ice hockey rink.

Hess said he would be in favor of that but it would cost much more to build a complex with a rink.

The board took no action last week, but the consensus among officials was the idea is worth exploring further.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Burgess Rocky Vitale said. “People have mentioned it many times.”