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New SportONE/Parkview Fieldhouse already boosting the economy

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It's hosting big volleyball tournament this weekend

Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 6:35 am

Less than a month after its ribbon-cutting, developers of the new SportONE/Parkview Fieldhouse say the $7.5 million facility is already contributing to the local economy in a big way.

In what may be the largest volleyball event in Fort Wayne history, the fieldhouse at 3946 Ice Way will host the “MLK Challenge” expected to draw at least 2,500 participants and spectators, according to John Nichols of RCI Development, which built the facility and the adjacent $14 million Lutheran Health SportsCenter ice rink. In addition to about 1,200 players representing 120 or more teams from Fort Wayne, Muncie, Indianapolis and elsewhere in the region, at least as many spectators are expected to attend the event, which will include teams of various age groups.

In addition to the eight volleyball courts available at the 57,000-square-foot fieldhouse, games will also be held on 14 courts in the nearby Memorial Coliseum expo hall. The tournament will operate Saturday and Sunday and could inject $250,000 into the local economy through use of restaurants, hotels and other businesses, Nichols said.

More than 80 amateur sporting events involving 115,000 people were held in Fort Wayne last year, according to tourism officials, generating an estimated $19 million in economic impact. RCI officials have said the new facility could attract more than 1 million volleyball and basketball players every year, and Nichols said officials representing other sports have also expressed interest in the fieldhouse.