The time is perfect to expand on our success with the fabulous outdoor sports complex/athletic fields. The athletic fields draw many tourists and dollars to our area. It’s time to explore the next logical step to enhance further tourism and revenues.
Imagine a huge indoor sports complex/arena to rival the greatness of our outdoor sports complex. I say arena because there is no reason why our area can’t host large scale events that usually make the rounds through Raleigh. I saw a recent commercial for a Monster Truck event in Raleigh. An indoor sports complex/arena could be used all year if we raised the bar to include statewide and national competitions. The public probably has additional ideas, but imagine gymnastics, cheerleading, skating, roller, board and bike events. Also, karate, basketball, hockey and more. We would probably quadruple the volume of tourism and economic growth currently from the people using the athletic fields, especially with Amtrak rail services and Interstate 95/U.S. 64 travelers.
I would hope this concept would be in addition to the development of a huge convention center/events center. I see a need for both because I see both facilities being heavily booked. What if a Rocky Mount business wants to have a convention at the same time there is a state gymnastic competition? With two facilities, we are taking full advantage of capturing as many events as possible. How cool would it be to find the largest abandoned building in Rocky Mount that would be suitable for the indoor sports complex after renovations? The Imperial Centre is an awesome example of the reuse of a historic building. And it is an example of keeping history alive.
In closing I have one additional way to expand our outdoor sporting opportunities. Create another park. This one would be like a river, only paved. Create a running, biking trail that connects our region. The park would be narrow, but possibly hundreds of miles long. The trail would take bikers and runners to Tarboro, Rocky Mount and Nashville – east and west. Also, Wilson and up towardRoanoke Rapids, north and south. Imagine locals and tourists using the trails to train for long distance running and biking. And it’s a positive step to encourage folks to exercise.