Hamilton buying property to aid Spooky Nook mega sports complex

In another step toward creating the Spooky Nook at Champion Mill mega sports complex, Hamilton City Council recently approved the purchase of the nearby property at 204 Rhea Ave. for $130,000.

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.

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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.

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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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