Hamilton is purchasing the property at 204 Rhea Ave. to help traffic flow near the proposed Spooky Nook at Champion Mill mega sports complex to be located at the former Champion Paper property on North B Street. Pictured here is Spooky Nook’s Pennsylvania location. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF
Photo: Mike Rutledge
Photo: Mike Rutledge

Hamilton buying property to aid Spooky Nook mega sports complex

The property, at the northwest corner of Rhea and Hunter avenues, “is expected to be used to help adjust the traffic pattern” near the proposed sports complex, which city officials hope will break ground this fall, according to city documents.

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According to the ordinance approving the purchase, 204 Rhea is a “key piece of property” to the development, and ensures “controlling the future redevelopment of this property.”

Meanwhile, developers and the city are evaluating the status of the former Champion Paper mill’s property, which is a brownfield, to see how much cleanup may be required at the former industrial site that produced coated papers for many decades.

The original Spooky Nook complex, located near Lancaster, Pa., is the largest such sports complex in the country. The former flooring-materials warehouse, converted into indoor sports courts, fields, training areas, entertainment facilities and retail areas, contains 14 acres of property under one roof, plus an adjacent sports “bubble” and outdoor fields.

MORE: Impact of Hamilton sports center will be countywide, experts say

City Manager Joshua Smith this week said he hopes ground can be broken by the fall. City officials hope the facility, which is expected to attract teams of many sports from as far as a 3-1/2-hour drive to tournaments, can build a customer base that can boost the Main Street area into an entertainment district.

WATCH: Proposed Hamilton sports, entertainment complex highlighted in video

The Spooky Nook complex in Pennsylvania includes the training facilities for the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team, and hosts summer camps for a variety of sports. Spooky Nook officials in recent months have been working with area leagues and teams to evaluate their interest in basing their programs at the facility.

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