City of Lincoln approves $4.5 million for new youth sports complex

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Lincoln is getting closer to having a new sports complex for young people.

The City Council on Monday gave final approval to use up to $4.5 million in federal COVID-19 aid for the project.

The Lincoln Youth Complex will be built on the southeast side of North First Street and Cornhusker Highway, north of Oak Lake Park. 

“It’s something that we don’t have; a lot of communities around us have these types of facilities. I think it’s going to draw people to the city of Lincoln through the Midwest,” said Dwight Merilatt, athletic director for Nebraska Wesleyan University and member of the complex’s board.  

The 2015 Visioning Group is the nonprofit behind the operation of the Lincoln Youth Complex.  

It is the same nonprofit that developed the Pinnacle Bank Arena. 

Developers say the project will help Lincoln move forward and attract and retain families.   

“It’s going to be a game changer for Lincoln in regards of the economic development it’s going to bring to the community,” Merilatt said.

SEE ALSO: Former Husker baseball coach talks new Lincoln youth sports complex

The complex will also be home to Nebraska Wesleyan’s baseball and softball programs. 

Merilatt says it will be one of the best sports facilities in our area.  

“It’s going to be one of the best baseball and softball facilities in the country for us,” he said. “It’s just going to be another way that Lincoln can show its point of pride throughout the Midwest.” 

Wesleyan will also develop a program to work with underserved young people in Lincoln.  

The complex will house two championship fields, five youth fields and an additional field for Homer’s Heroes, a special-needs baseball program.

The new complex will cost $27 million, with funds coming from the public and private sector. 

Construction is set to begin this spring, with completion scheduled for late fall 2024.

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