For years, the city of Hammond didn't have a central place for the youth to play sports that they love. A place where they can build the essential skills they need to take their future athletic careers to the next level. On September 27 that changed; the new Hammond Sportsplex & Community Center hosted a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the sports center’s opening.
The Sportsplex & Community Center is a state of the art facility with 6 basketball courts that can be converted into 10 volleyball courts, two regulation-sized indoor soccer courses, 6 indoor batting cages, a quarter-mile suspended track, and so much more. The grand opening caused an uproar of excitement for the community. Better opportunities are on the horizon for the city of Hammond and surrounding areas.
When Thomas M. McDermott Jr. first became the Mayor of Hammond, people asked him what he was going to do with the iconic Woodmar Mall. Mayor McDermott had a dream that he would create a place that would enhance the lives of the local youth and bring businesses back into the community.
"I hope that this rejuvenates the economic development in the Woodmar Mall section. With the loss of Woodmar Mall, we're looking for the next answer, and I think this is it," McDermott said.
Whether a person is looking to get in shape or enjoys playing sports, the building has something for everyone.
"We are building it for us, for the community who wants to come here to play sports. A lot of people who are in their 40s and 50s are still interested in playing in athletics, and we can have leagues for people who are 40 and over," McDermott said.
The facility is already booked into next June. Africa Tarver, the Executive Director of Planning & Development, is proud of this new addition to the city of Hammond.
"It'll definitely benefit the youth, it gives them something to do, it gives them a wonderful facility to practice and prepare for scholarships for professional sports," Tarver said.
Most people haven't seen anything like this in the Hammond area. The center took $18,000,000 to construct, and it's over 135,000 square feet of active indoor activities.
"For people like me growing up, if I would have had things like this it would have given me better opportunities," said Jim Taillon, General Manager of Hammond Sportsplex. "I played baseball in college, and I pretty much had to go do it myself. With this building, we get to train kids in the area and let them compete against kids so they can be the best."
Rain or shine, with the Hammond Sportsplex & Community Center, citizens can put their health first and play their favorite sports. For more information on activities, reservations and more go to www.hammondsportsplex.com.