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4/28/2012 4:21:00 PM
Evansville CVB commissions study for sports facility locations

Susan Orr, Evansville Courier & Press

—A large-scale investment in sports facilities would be a good way to generate tourism spending, Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Bob Warren believes.

To that end, the bureau's board of commissioners voted Wednesday to commission a study on the topic.

The seven-member board voted unanimously to pay VPS Architecture up to $22,000 to conduct a sports feasibility study.

The goal of the study will be to identify large-scale projects in which the bureau could invest innkeepers tax money.

Those projects, Warren said, could include either improvements to existing facilities or large open tracts of land on which new facilities could be built.

"We're not ruling anything out at this point, but we would like it to be sports related," he said.

This is not the first time the bureau has considered a large-scale investment in sports.

In 2010, the CVB proposed building an $18 million baseball/softball complex on the site of Roberts Stadium. That proposal encountered public opposition and was dropped.

In December, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke appointed a Roberts Stadium Task Force to study potential reuses for the stadium site.

In February, Warren asked the task force to consider building a baseball/softball complex on the site, at a cost of about half of the earlier proposal.

The task force's report, which was made public this week, said the task force considered the baseball/softball idea but ultimately rejected it because "it had previously been defeated." Winnecke also opposed the idea.

Warren said he still favors building a softball/baseball complex in another location, but the sports feasibility study will have a broader scope than just the one project.

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