NMB sports complex construction under way

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Construction on the $17 million sports complex and recreation park in North Myrtle Beach is now underway. The new facility is expected to expand sports tourism in the North Strand.

According to Patrick Dowling, City of North Myrtle Beach Spokesperson, crews have begun work to mile long road that will lead to the new complex and construction on the actual building  and park started just a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile the city's sports tourism marketing department is busy traveling the country meeting with sporting events organizers and planners.

The goal is to sign on events to use the new complex as a venue. Dowling says the group is targeting college and youth baseball and softball events and they hope to expand to different sports from there.

There have been major changes to the project. Plans for a water park and zip line attraction have been scrapped. According to Dowling, investors for the water park could not commit to the city's financial requirements designed to protect North Myrtle Beach taxpayers.

As for the zip line attraction, the investors pulled out because the company is reportedly not ready to expand its existing zip line business in the Grand Strand.

Dowling says there could still be a new water park in North Myrtle Beach's future. Investors with the water park haven't completely thrown out the idea of developing in the North Strand.

"It is our understanding that they will buy land adjacent to the complex and a much larger tract of land and try and build a larger attraction. But we really don't know if that will come into reality or not," said Dowling.

Still on tap however is the amphitheater, veteran's memorial and the lakefront area which will have water sports attractions. The city also bought a couple acres of land next to the complex site and they did it with public safety in mind. "As development occurs around residential and commercial around the sports complex, it's important that we have a fire and public safety building in order to service that area down the road," added Dowling.

Construction on the sports complex is scheduled to wrap up in February 2014. The first scheduled sporting event will be a three week softball tournament. That tournament will start on March 1, 2014.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.