The first steps to bring business around the Grand Sports Park Campus are starting to take shape in Westfield with the announcement that the Lids Indiana Bulls, a top amateur baseball organization.
The move to make the Lids Indiana Bulls’ permanent home a part of the sports complex is the kind of economic development and investment promised by Mayor Cook and the sports commission charged with developing the plan.
“Today’s announcement marks a monumental day for the LIDS Indiana Bulls organization,” said the organization’s President Ken Kocher in a statement. “We are thrilled to be able to partner with the City of Westfield on this project because of all the very positive opportunities it will afford our players, their families and this central Indiana community.”
The Lids Indiana Bulls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping support outstanding high school baseball players interact with both college and professional scouts, receive top notch coaching and help younger ball players reach professional leagues.
While the promise of having an amateur baseball organization is certainly something for entertainment, Cook said the main interest he had was that by having the Lids Indiana Bulls in Westfield; tournaments bringing in 100,000 visitors for the season were of economic interest.
“These visitors are coming to Westfield and won’t just want to be at the baseball game, but will need shopping, hotels and restaurants,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “This is going to be an industry for Westfield. Westfield makes its money from the area around the sports park, it is important to keep that in mind.”
While the Indiana Bulls are just the initial organization to make the move to invest in the complex, the city hopes now that other organization, industry and businesses make the private investment around the park and downtown and trail system between each to bring in economic development and revenue. It was this first step however that needed to happen for the other development and added the necessary credibility to the project for private investment to happen, Cook said.
In Westfield, some have hotly contested the sports campus project, questioning the investment and how big an impact it would actually have economically. Cook insists however that the investment is a part of a strategic business plan and financially responsible, and over the next few years, these incremental investments will allow for more partnerships in the sports park to develop.
“When the City of Westfield makes investments,” Cook said, “they are made in segments. We intend to show tangible return on our investments and will proceed when we can show that return on investment during each segment of the project.”