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Youth Sports Community Assessment report delayed

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City hopes report can be released to public in February

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 8:31 pm

City officials hoped a Youth Sports Community Assessment might be completed by as early as October but are pushing a results announcement until probably February.

The process started a year ago when City Council approved $200,000 to pay for the project as part of the Legacy Fort Wayne initiative, the $75 million fund created with proceeds from the sale of the City Light utility to Indiana Michigan Power.

Mayor Tom Henry chose Aquarius Sports and Entertainment to conduct the study in May. Aquarius Executive Vice President Jeff Goldscher and Brian Connelly, managing partner for Victus Advisers, came to town in July to gather information.

They met with about 50 people in individual meetings before hosting a 90-minute public forum where 18 community sports leaders spoke. There were facility requests for softball, baseball, soccer, cricket, football, rowing, street hockey and swimming.

"We're building these final recommendations ... completely objectively from the ground up,'' Connelly said at the time. "We're starting with our research phase, we're moving to the analysis of the market potential and opportunities and from there we are developing our recommendations. What we really want this to be is our road map for how we think Fort Wayne can become a premier youth sports destination.''

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director Al Moll said Monday that Aquarius has received input from 895 people, either through direct discussion, emails or an online survey that was open to the public.

"We had hoped to have everything completed by the end for the year, but that's not going to happen,'' Moll said. "We have completed all the data gathering, and I think we'll hopefully have a final report in February. It's been kind of a quick process anyway.''

Moll said the report will be released to the public.

The consensus at the public forum was that Fort Wayne needs multisurface and multipurpose facilities that can be used year-round to train and host regional and national tournaments. Plenty of parking was also a priority.