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Valpo officials sharing plans for new Sports and Recreation Complex

City of Valparaiso website

New athletic fields, pickleball courts and a nature park will be coming to Valparaiso as part of the city's Sports and Recreation Complex.

Valpo Parks Executive Director John Seibert says the new facility east of State Road 49 will incorporate the 248-acre site's natural features. "We're not trying to transform the property. We're trying to use it to its best and effective use," Seibert told the city council last week, one of a number of presentations he's recently given on the project.

The complex will include four sections: a "northplex" with four baseball-style fields, a "community plaza" with 10 pickleball courts and space for dining and live music, a "southplex" with three soccer-style fields, and the nature park on the south end.

Valpo Parks Assistant Director Kevin Nuppnau said the nature park is meant to be a space of tranquility that's still close to the activity areas. "So miles of trails, boardwalks and bridges. There's natural wetlands; there's prairies we intend to build within, around and through; restrooms and shelters for people to enjoy being outside; a playground that's themed to the outdoors; as well as just open space for people to explore their own intuitions," Nuppnau explained.

Valparaiso Development Director George Douglas says the Sports and Recreation Complex will be a transformational project, not just for the city but for Northwest Indiana as a whole. "The direct benefit of $10 million in spending associated with this park and an additional $20 million indirect spending associated with this park -- and that's a very compelling economic development for this park in what we're putting back behind it in terms of design," Douglas told council members.

A complementary project to extend Memorial Parkway from 400 to 500 North will open up more than 80 acres for commercial development.

The Sports and Recreation Complex is expected to cost about $30 million, using a combination of READI grant funds, American Rescue Plan money and various forms of bond financing.

Construction is expected to start next spring. The facility could open in the summer of 2024.