SANDUSKY - A new $28 million indoor sports facility will be joining Sports Force Park at Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky as the region continues its push as “America’s sports and family fun capital.”

The 140,000-square-foot facility will feature 10 basketball courts, which can also be used as up to 20 volleyball courts, retractable arena seating, an indoor walking track, grand lobby, mezzanine level and event space.

The facility will also be home to the Lee C. Jewett Sports Medicine Center, a sports medicine and orthopedic facility funded and operated by Firelands Regional Medical Center.

Artist's rendering shows the new $28 million indoor sports facility, which will feature 10 indoor basketball courts, an indoor walking track and other amenities. (Photo: Courtesy of Cedar Fair)
Artist's rendering shows the new $28 million indoor sports facility, which will feature 10 indoor basketball courts, an indoor walking track and other amenities. (Photo: Courtesy of Cedar Fair)

Cedar Fair and Erie County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony at Cedar Point Sports Center for the facility Tuesday.

“As important as the bricks and mortar will be to bringing this vision to life, this project is about so much more than that,” said Duff Milkie, executive vice president of Cedar Fair. “It will impact our tourism economy in a positive way and build off the success of Sports Force.”

According to Cedar Fair, at maturity the new facility is projected to bring in an additional 70,000 visitors, generating an annual economic impact of $20 million that will benefit area hotels, restaurants, gas stations, stores and attractions.

It is also projected to generate $700,000 in new annual tax revenue for local schools, governments and other public services.

The indoor facility will help the efforts to build a more year-round tourism economy, Milkie said, as a significant portion of the impact will occur in the “non-peak” season, improving the area’s labor market and workforce development.

Construction is expected to take 15 to 18 months and is being done by Mosser Construction, of Fremont.

The construction of the new $28 million indoor sports facility is anticipated to take 15 to 18 months and is being done by Mosser Construction, of Fremont. (Photo: Jon Stinchcomb/News Herald)
The construction of the new $28 million indoor sports facility is anticipated to take 15 to 18 months and is being done by Mosser Construction, of Fremont. (Photo: Jon Stinchcomb/News Herald)

Cedar Fair, which provided the more than 25 acres of land for the facility, will have responsibility for the operations, maintenance and repairs.

Cedar Fair also contributed $5 million toward the cost of the project, while the majority of the funding, about $23 million, is coming from Erie County through its bed tax.

“It will benefit the community, and not be a place where someone else goes to play, but where we all go to play,” Milkie said. “It will become a place for memories, competition, friendship, healing and for camaraderie.”

Duff Milkie, executive vice president of Cedar Fair, discusses the new $28 million indoor sports facility joining Sports Force Park at Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky. (Photo: Jon Stinchcomb/News Herald)
Duff Milkie, executive vice president of Cedar Fair, discusses the new $28 million indoor sports facility joining Sports Force Park at Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky. (Photo: Jon Stinchcomb/News Herald)

Sports Force Parks, in conjunction with Cedar Fair Charities, serves as a boy scout camp, along with supporting little league and other programs, and Milkie said the indoor facility will benefit the community in similar ways.

The facility will provide those opportunities to local schools, leagues, the YMCA and other community organizations during non-peak times and its year-round indoor walking track will be free and open for public use.

“For me, the most significant thing about the groundbreaking today is that if we let it and we’re willing to embrace it, we will keep the momentum going for our county, this city, and the region,” Milkie said.

jstinchcom@gannett.com