Posted By: Camila Orti
By this time next year, Lincoln will have a brand new 55-acre youth sports complex.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Speedway Sporting Village was Thursday morning, marking the beginning of construction for the $29 million facility that developers say will "change youth sports" in the Capital City.
"I'm excited, this is something that I've dreamt of even ten years ago," Pres. of Speedway Sporting Village Andrew Ferguson said.
Ferguson says he saw the need for more field and court space, but wanted to take the facility to the next level.
"This is the evolution of youth sports complexes to take the recreation and the entertainment and put it together," Ferguson said.
Besides ten soccer fields, four basketball courts and a sports performance center, the complex will feature a banquet hall, food and retail space and a 30,000-square-foot trampoline park called Defy Gravity.
"It's going to be one of the best facilities in the nation," Derek Bombeck with Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau said.
Dozens of families and businesses will call the Sporting Village their new home, like youth basketball program Complete Hoops.
"It's nice to have a facility where we'll have guaranteed practice time and also expand our offerings," Tom Ahlschwede said.
Supporters of the new complex say it's a struggle to find court and field space in Lincoln.
"Some of the fields are taken up and there's not enough fields to play on and most of the fields aren't very good," Sporting FC player Morrie Budler said.
The Sporting Village is being paid for privately with $4.7 coming from TIF funds.
Phase one of construction, Defy Gravity and the fieldhouse, should be finished by this winter. Project managers say the complex will be completed next summer. Soccer tournaments have already been scheduled.