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From Kent County to Event County

By Michael Spatz -- November 17, 2012 12:47 AM EST

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When you think of youth sports in the Mid-Atlantic, it's natural to think of states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or North Carolina. Starting in 2014, officials and the young athletes in Kent County, Delaware, intend to change that.

On November 15, local business owners and members of the government held a Kent County Regional Sports Complex Kick-Off in Frederica, Delaware, located less than 15 miles from Delaware's capital. The nature of the kick-off was to update the community on the progress and to name the main tenants of the complex, revealed to be the Central Delaware Soccer Association. It was also revealed that the local Becker Morgan group would be brought on as the project manager.

The idea for the complex in Kent County began in 2009. This past July, Kent County Levy Court and the Greater Dover Committee got the go-ahead when their application for $3.2 million in state money was approved. The main sport played at the complex will be soccer, but it will also be the home of field hockey and lacrosse, with both indoor and outdoor fields. The largest turf field on the complex will hold a capacity of 1,500, and according to officials, at least ten major annual sports tournaments will be played each year on the 100-acre complex.

Of course, the Kent County Regional Sports Complex isn't just about bringing better youth competition to the first state that joined the Union. According to the Greater Dover Committee and Kent County Levy Court officials, more than $18 million will be drawn in annually, especially aiding local businesses. Moreover, the complex will create more than 2,000 jobs in Kent County during the tournaments and camps as well as 180 construction jobs to build it and 210 full-time continuing jobs, this according to a study by the University of Delaware.

However, the sports complex hasn't gotten the approval of everyone in Delaware. Some are wary of the huge construction project in a state that is relatively undeveloped, green, and rich in agriculture. Well, compared to the likes of New York and New Jersey, at least. And more tourism means more traffic, especially down Route 1 near where the complex is built. But on the whole, the complex is highly anticipated by the people of Delaware who were told at the kick-off that the major project is making some big steps forward.

Of course, there are still huge steps to take. Construction won't begin until the middle of 2013 and the complex isn't expected to open until 2014. But that is the key; construction will begin. The newest state-of-the-art sports facility in the Mid-Atlantic is not a matter of if, but when.

It's a great development for the state of Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region in general. Rather than have to drive all over the coast to play higher competition, Delaware's young athletes will know that the competition is going to be coming to them. Every good youth program starts at home, and if the promises of the kick-off can be kept when the complex opens in two years, Delaware will benefit in every aspect.

Photo attributed to WDDE.

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