Back in November. there was a measure on the ballot that would've increased taxes to improve the city parks.

That would've included the baseball and sports facilities, which definitely need some improvement.

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Well, the measure didn't pass and supporters were left to wonder what now?

Well Amarillo may just have its answer, and it comes from Kids Inc.

They were just gifted a 90-acre land donation from Rockrose Development to build an expansive outdoor complex. The location of the land is located near Coulter & Hollywood Rd., right next to Skate Plex. What this will do for youth sports in Amarillo in unmatched.

So with the land donated, the question of who is going to fund the project immediately comes up. Will it be something that pops up on the next ballot? Are tax dollars going to be needed to build the complex?

The short answer is NO! This will be a privately funded project so tax rates won't have to increase.

On to the good stuff, what's this facility going to consist of? There will be plenty of multi-purpose fields as well as some that are specific to certain sports, so let's take a look at everything.

THE FIELDS

The multi-purpose fields will have 38 different soccer fields in various sizes, the most popular being 20x30 yard fields which there will be 21 of. You'll find six different flag football fields that will measure 100x40 yards each, and three tackle football fields at 120x53'-4" yards in size.

It will also feature two different 200m 6-lane tracks for track and field activities and 11 regulation size volleyball courts.

The facility will also feature a plethora of baseball fields for all ages and divisions. It will contain a staggering 14 fields with fences at 200ft and below. You'll also find 7 different baseball fields with fences over 200ft. in length.

The final baseball field will be a dedicated field that will hold Amarillo College baseball practices and also serves as a game field for high school and older baseball games.

A unique feature of the baseball fields (aside from the Amarillo College field) will be fields inside those fields. You'll find six different 25x40yd soccer fields and four 100x40yd flag football fields that can be used on the baseball fields.

All of the baseball fields will also be turf fields, and that provides a ton of opportunities. Turf fields don't need the high maintenance of watering the grass, manicuring the fields, etc. Furthermore, turf fields have drainage systems that allow for play to be held shortly after rain hits the area. The current fields in Amarillo are all grass and dirt, and rain will wipe out games.

Kids Inc. will also be working with Amarillo College to allow intramural programs from the school to utilize the facility for their events.

THE FACILITIES

One of the all important pieces of a complex like this is the facilities available. There will be four different restroom facilities on the complex. Two will be located at the multi-purpose fields with two more found in the baseball/softball facilities.

There will also be two different food court areas within the complex. One in the multi-purpose field area and the other will be located at the baseball/softball complex.

PARKING

Another thing you have to factor in for a complex this large is where is everyone going to park? They've taken care of that with over 1,200 paved parking spaces engulfing the entire complex. I can tell you from years of having my kids in travel baseball that parking really is a huge problem at these types of places. It won't be here.

SPORTS CAMPS

Another thing they'll be able to offer now are sports camps for all sorts of different sports. They'll be working with both West Texas A&M University and Amarillo College for their various sports camps they run. With the space being available, that means we'll see more opportunities for the kids of Amarillo to grow as players in their respective sports.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR AMARILLO & CANYON?

This is something that will provide a huge economic boost for the region. Having a facility like this allows for tournaments to be held in several different sports. Teams from outside the region will now have a reason to travel to the Amarillo area to play in these events, and we'll be able to hold more of them because of the complex.

When these tournaments come to town, it boosts revenue at the local area hotels, restaurants and other various stores. With more money rolling into the region, we'll be able to build more and realize even greater profits. Again, I've seen it first hand and donated money to numerous hotels because of travel baseball. When I say we spent easily $300+ each weekend we had to travel out of town to play, I mean it. Now multiply that by 11 families each weekend per team that travels in from out of town.

All of the above mentioned is just phase 1 of the project. There is a phase 2 planned for the complex, and that will be an indoor facility. However, that's down the road a bit as they will be focused on completing the outdoor facility first.

You can make donations to the project at the Kids Inc. complex site. Any and all donations will help this become a reality sooner rather than later. With it being a privately funded project, they'll be relying on businesses and the community to raise the funds needed. The cost of the outdoor complex is estimated to run about $30 million to complete.

You can see 3D renderings of the entire outdoor complex by clicking here. It's one of the most impressive youth sports complexes I've ever seen and I'm excited for what this is going to do for youth sports and the cities in general.

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