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Grand Park helps to bring business to Westfield

Youth sports tournaments at Grand Park are bringing back much-needed business that was lost over the last three months.

WESTFIELD, Ind. — The shutdown due to the pandemic over the last three months has severely impacted the hospitality industry. Many have been hurt by the economic loss. 

But Westfield has seen a surge in business this weekend and those in the hospitality industry say it’s due to Grant Park re-opening.

This weekend, Grand Park is hosting regional youth sports tournaments.

“We have baseball and lacrosse this weekend and this is why Grand Park was developed for weekends like this. We have over 450 teams here and while we know we’re still dealing with an active situation of COVID-19 this gives kids some sense of normalcy,” Director of Grand Park William Knox said. 

Lacrosse and baseball players were heating the competition on their respective fields Saturday morning until heavy rain and storms rolled through Westfield.

But the rain only caused a delay not a cancellation.

“This tournament is through tomorrow (Sunday) already so if thunderstorms push us back we’ll just be hear later today,” Knox said.

Regardless of the weather, these athletes and their families are in town for the weekend, and many are from out of state.  

Just a little under six miles away from the sports complex, some but not all, said the impact was trickling down into the hospitality industry.

“We are completely sold out this weekend. We were sold out yesterday and we’re sold out today,” said Kevin Oleksiyenko, the General Manager of Holiday Inn Express and Suites in North Carmel/Westfield.

But another hotel just 1.7 miles away from the sports complex said the tournament hasn’t drastically impacted their occupancy.

Oleksiyenko said the last time his hotel was sold out was right before the pandemic hit Indiana in March.

“We did have to lay off about 75 percent of our staff just to keep ourselves afloat,” Oleksiyenko said.

But as soon as Indiana entered phase four of the state’s re-opening plan and Grand Park was able to get back to business, staff were able to get back to work. 

“I was able to bring back all of my staff from back in March. So we’re super excited to have them back. They’re super excited to be back,” Oleksiyenko said.

The Indiana Restaurant and Logging Association says youth supports are helping to reigniting our economy across the state. And predicts the Westfield tournaments will bring a couple million dollars to the state.

“We have great youth sports facilities in Evansville, Fort Wayne, South Bend as well as Lake County. All those youth sports facilities have a tremendous economic impact statewide across many industries not just hospitality,” President and CEO of Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association Patrick Tamm said. 

And this trickle-down factor is essential as we begin to try to restart our economy in the wake of this ongoing pandemic.