Ken De La Bastide, The Herald Bulletin
September 7, 2023
ANDERSON — The city of Elwood is seeking permission to use $1 million in wind farm money to build a regional sports complex.
Elwood Mayor Todd Jones and Rob Sparks of the Corporation for Economic Development asked the Madison County commissioners on Tuesday to approve the funding.
When the Wild Cat Wind Farm was developed in northern Madison County ,the developer provided $1.3 million for economic development projects.
Sparks said Wednesday there is still $500,000 in the account.
He said Alexandria received $300,000 for infrastructure improvements, and Madison County spent $400,000 for repairs at the courthouse and provided $100,000 to Frankton for water system upgrades.
“We’re asking the county for the $500,000 and to restore the other $500,000 for the project,” Sparks said. “This is a great project for Elwood. We would leverage the county funds to obtain state funding for the project.”
In 2018 Elwood was awarded $1 million for a robotics training facility, a project that was never completed.
The commissioners directed county attorney Jeff Graham to draft a resolution to transfer those funds for the proposed sports complex.
Jones said the city is working with a sports management company to develop a sports complex to include a 50,000-square-foot indoor facility for basketball and volleyball and four baseball and softball diamonds.
The city is in negotiations to purchase 79 acres adjacent to the existing Elwood High School football stadium.
Jones said a feasibility study has indicated the sports complex could bring approximately $9 million in tourism money to Madison County.
The study indicates the sports complex could create up to 108 jobs in the region.
He said the complex would be used for athletic events for traveling teams throughout Indiana.
Jones said the city is discussing with several developers plans for the construction of two hotels near the intersection of Ind. 37 and Ind. 28.
He said the Elwood Redevelopment Commission has purchased the property and removed the existing structures.
“This will bring people to Madison County,” Jones said. “We would be able to host tournaments.”
Commissioner John Richwine said the intent for the wind farm money was for development projects in the Elwood and Alexandria area.
“We’re spending the money on the uses that were intended,” he said. “This is a good idea for a project.”