Group seeks to build support for proposed indoor track facility
A nonprofit is trying to raise awareness about the need for an indoor track facility in Delaware
Indoor Track Delaware is pulling together coaches, parents and concerned citizens to argue the state needs to build one.
The group’s president Chuck Klous says without a championship caliber banked track every competition is a road trip for the state’s indoor track HS athletes.
"Almost 2,000 kids participate in the state, and there are no facilities in which they can compete in the state of Delaware," said Klous. "We travel as far away as New Haven and Boston to compete in indoor track."
Antwain Flowers is a youth development director at West End Neighborhood House. He describes what those trips entail for his indoor team.
"We have to get here at 4 a.m. so we can leave by 5 so we can leave on time, so that we can arrive at the track by 7, and then we don't get back till 1 a.m. the next day," said Flowers. "This takes away from these kids school opportunities, family opportunities, church, religious obligations."
The lack of a facility also means the high school state championships are in Landover, Maryland - a two-hour drive for many.
The group is developing two options for its proposed facility. The larger one would make it more available to host volleyball, wrestling and basketball tournaments alongside track meets.
Greg Wilson is part of Indoor Track Delaware’s board, and he argues a facility would have a significant impact.
"We believe that the combination of all the indoor sports joining together to make the argument in the public sphere than an indoor track arena-indoor track sports center is in the interest, not only for the state of Delaware's athletes but for the local economy - hotels and restaurants," said Wilson.
Indoor Track Delaware argues having more events increases the opportunity to bring in out-of-state visitors to boost local hotels and restaurants.
Most events at the facility would take place between November and February when hotel occupancy drops as low as 44%.
A feasibility study commissioned by Indoor Track Delaware suggests the facility could generate $1.8 to $2.6 million in tax revenue for the state annually, or upwards of $1.5 billion over 30 years while also providing up to 775 sustainable annual jobs.