Westfield Grand Park has grand opening this weekend - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Westfield Grand Park has grand opening this weekend

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Grand Park is a $45 million, 360-acre sports complex. Grand Park is a $45 million, 360-acre sports complex.
WESTFIELD, Ind. - In Hamilton County, Westfield is counting youth sports to bankroll its local economy.  The city is celebrating the grand opening of the massive $45 million Grand Park Sports Facility

One parent who spoke with Eyewitness News on Friday called it 400 acres of fun. Fun has become an industry.  

The numbers are staggering. There are 24 baseball and softball diamonds and 31 other fields for soccer, football and a variety of other sports. Some have been open since March.

Since then, the park's had almost 400,000 visitors from 48 states and Canada. The city figures they've pumped about $30 million into the economy, most of it spent in hotels and restaurants. Next year, the mayor expects a million and a half visitors.

The park is booked solid for the rest of the playing season.

Grand Park is already a hit with parents accustomed to carting kids across the country to play games

"Beautiful! It has just about everything you want," said James Kizer. "It just blows everything else away."

One big perk of this sports park over many others is the parking. Each group of fields have their own lot so you are never parked more than two fields away from where you're playing.

Along with travel teams on the weekends, the parks department and local youth leagues are here during the week. It serves a lot of purposes

"To serve the needs of our youth. To promote family healthy sports.  But it is also a business. Travel sports, hospitality - therefore tourism will be Westfield's industry," said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook.

The mayor used the words "will be" because the city doesn't have the hotel and restaurants it needs.

Having spent $45 million, Westfield isn't playing any games

"I see an industry.  Truly, this is Westfield's industry," said Mayor Cook.

The Hamilton County community intends to be a major player in the country's $8.5 billion travel sports business. Hotels in nearby communities have already doubled their weekend business.

"We are selling out on the weekends.  We are turning business away and helping fill our sister hotels in the surrounding areas," said Sarah Dudley, hotel manager.

Parents spend plenty to see their kids play.

"We are here four nights. We spend about $500 - $50 to $100 on food every night and then..." said Eric Krieger, parent, referring to extras that easily add up to a $1,000 weekend.

No matter which team scores the most runs, Westfield intents to come out on top.

To mark this grand opening, a grand lineup of events starts tonight: from 6-9 PM with a kickoff concert by Dave and Rae. There will also be free Ferris wheel rides, food vendors and a beer garden.

Friday:

6-9pm: Kick-Off Concert: Dave & Rae
Ferris Wheel Rides
Food Vendor Area
Beer Garden


Saturday:

2pm - Grand Ribbon Cutting
2-10pm - Event Festivities--Bring your own chairs to enjoy the concerts and festivities!
Ferris Wheel rides—view the entire park from the top of a 50-foot Ferris Wheel
Enjoy corn dogs, funnel cakes and more in the food vendor area
Have a drink in the Beer Garden
3:30-6:30pm - Circle City Royals perform on stage
7-10pm - The Wright Brothers Band performs on stage
10pm - Fireworks Show
All Day - Sporting Events

Sunday:

8am - A Grand Run 5K and Family Fun Run/Walk presented by Wellbrooke of Westfield


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