NAUGATUCK — Borough officials got the ball rolling last week on a project to develop an indoor sports complex in Naugatuck.
The plan, as officials envision it, is to find a developer and operator to build and run a multi-sport indoor complex without using any borough funds.
“Not only is this a good thing for the town and something we need, but it is something that is good for economic development. … It’s going to be a tax generator,” said Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess as he led a workshop on the proposal Jan. 15 at the Naugatuck Event Center.
Officials are proposing to build the complex on a roughly 13-acre property on New Haven Road between Warren Avenue and Osborn Road. The land is across from the entrance to the former Peter Paul site. The borough acquired the property less than a year ago in a foreclosure, Hess said.
A preliminary, proposed site plan showed an 80,000-square-foot facility with 223 parking spaces. Hess briefly talked about a 120,000-square-foot facility, but that would mean 100 less parking spaces, and those at the workshop stressed the importance of having ample parking at such facilities.
Officials estimate the site work needed at the property would cost about $800,000 due to the topography of the land and some ledge in the area, Hess said.
About two dozen people attended the workshop and many of them were involved with a sport, including soccer, baseball, rock climbing and skateboarding. Members of the public spoke of wanting a multi-level facility with concessions.
Spencer Parrish, a Waterbury resident and Senior Olympic medalist, pitched the idea for an Olympic standard indoor sports complex. He suggested the borough could get a sports company to sponsor it.
“This is going to be a win-win situation for Naugatuck because if you build it, you are going to attract national and international events, if it’s built to the right standards,” Parrish said in regards to the Olympic standards. “Build me a high school indoor track, that’s not going to attract anything.”
For others, another place to play and practice is welcome.
“We got to have teams practicing together because there’s just not a lot of options for us. This building right here, if it’s done right, it could be mean the world for all of these other sports,” said James Brown, who coaches the Naugatuck Nighthawks, a travel basketball team, and the Connecticut Dream, an AAU basketball team. “If you are catering to every single sport in town, it means that the youth here is going to be good.”
Officials plan to visit other indoor sports complexes to get ideas and work to firm up the details of the project. The hope is to issue a request for proposals for a developer before spring.
Officials plan to hold another workshop to continue discussing the proposal in the coming weeks.