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Hamilton’s next step on Spooky Nook sports complex: Visit the original

A local chamber of commerce delegation in coming weeks will visit the Pennsylvania location of the original Spooky Nook Sports complex near Lancaster, with the hope of bringing home to Hamilton businesses some ideas of how the proposed Hamilton location can help them.

“We are going, as a chamber staff, on a mission, probably in February,” said Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. The goal is “not just to see Spooky Nook. We really want to talk to the local businesses and get a feel for the impact that Spooky Nook has had on them. And some businesses are there just because of Spooky Nook.”

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The original complex is the nation’s largest indoor sports complex, with indoor and outdoor fields, courts, training facilities, weight lifting areas, as well as convention and reception areas, plus a hotel and restaurant that are attached.

The city has been working with Spooky Nook employees to create what will be called Spooky Nook Sports at Champion Mill, at the former Champion Paper facility on North B Street. City leaders envision the Hamilton complex as a spark for a new entertainment district along Main and High streets.

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Spooky Nook owner Sam Beiler has told this media outlet the Pennsylvania facility draws athletes and their families from as far as a 3.5-hour drive. He expects the Hamilton facility to have a similar draw range.

Also, the facility has been regularly visiting this area to speak with sports leagues and teams about working together for training at the Hamilton site. Spooky Nook expects to draw teams from at least across Butler County.

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“We want to go over, and spend a little time, and learn, and bring what we learn back to the businesses here in Hamilton,” Bates said.

“We’re going to do field research, to see what can we bring back that we can (use) to prepare the business community in Hamilton. We want to speak with credibility.”

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Because of recent changes to federal tax laws that altered federal historic-building tax credits, City Manager Joshua Smith recently said that the company hopes to break ground by fall of 2018 at the latest to maximize use of such credits.

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