A GRANT AWAY?

City to apply for $4 million for downtown sports complex

By TIM SINIARD
Posted 8/28/19

The city of Cleveland will apply for a $4 million grant to provide funding for a proposed $7.8 million, 62,000-square-foot sports complex, which is expected to attract approximately 200,000 visitors …

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A GRANT AWAY?

City to apply for $4 million for downtown sports complex

Posted

The city of Cleveland will apply for a $4 million grant to provide funding for a proposed $7.8 million, 62,000-square-foot sports complex, which is expected to attract approximately 200,000 visitors to the city’s historic downtown each year.

The Blue Cross Healthy Place Projects grant is offered from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Health Foundation.

Construction of the proposed sports complex is part of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Master Plan which was unveiled earlier this year. The plan includes construction of a new hotel, green spaces, parks, as well as single-family townhomes. The master plan includes a mix of public and private investment.

The proposed sports complex, which has been discussed in numerous community meetings, as well as City Council meetings, will be located at the former site of the 100-plus year-old Whirlpool Plant 2, which was demolished earlier this year. Currently, a pile of rubble rests on the concrete pad of the former plant, which City Manager Joe Fivas said may be usable.

“We may be able to lay the building on top of that,” he said. “We will have to look at that."

Currently, the city is in talks with Whirlpool regarding acquisition of the property.

“We have discussed ownership of this property with Whirlpool Corporation and, if needed, they will send a document indicating their willingness to reach an arrangement for the city to control the property,” Fivas said.

Overall, the project will include constructing the facility, as well an adjoining playground with zip lines, a rock-climbing wall and ropes course.

According to Fivas, the grant “supports the well-being of Tennesseans by creating active, healthy spaces in both urban and rural areas across the state.”

“These spaces provide places for physical activity and allow new connections to form among neighbors, strengthening bonds that form the backbone of communities,” he said.

To qualify for the grant, applicants must demonstrate that the project must include the following criteria:

• Be free and open to the public.

• Demonstrate a community benefit and include community input.

• Commit to seeking community engagement throughout the planning and development process.

• Include a project implantation timeline and budget, along with a sustainability plan.

In addition, Fivas said the city must agree to exclusive Blue Cross Health Place branding, naming and signage rights.

While there are not yet any floor plans for the facility, Fivas said it will contain eight basketball courts and eight volleyball courts.

A similar facility — Carolina Courts — was constructed in Indian Trail, N.C., during Fivas’ tenure as city manager there.

The foundation awards up to $7.5 million per year and has funded park projects, including a $5 million project in Chattanooga, a $1 million project in Huntland, as well as a $5.4 million project in Memphis.

“[The projects] range from community spaces to athletic fields to anything in between,” Fivas said.

The application due date is Aug. 31. Fivas said the foundation just recently released current program details.

“They released this very late; it’s a compressed time frame,” he said.

Fivas said there is no set timeline on when the project will need to be completed.

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