Proposed Hamilton sports, entertainment complex highlighted in video

A new video is giving a first look inside Spooky Nook at Champion Mill, a proposed sports, entertainment and events complex that should be under construction in early 2017 with a grand opening in late 2018.

Hamilton officials previously said the proposed project named for the former paper mill the property is set to occupy will be "remarkable."

A seven-minute computer-generated video uploaded to YouTube on Thursday shows off the enormous size of the facility.

Based on preliminary designs, the animated walk-through starts with an aerial view of the more than 700,000-square-foot project, then swoops in to show a drive-up drop-off area, concession stands, basketball courts, indoor baseball diamond, indoor soccer field with ample seating, outdoor soccer field, four-lane running track, and a fitness center with weights, fitness equipment and childcare.

The city and Spooky Nook have not yet signed a development agreement for the project. Before that happens, the city council will have to approve legislation authorizing the city manager to sign the pact, which still is being negotiated.

“We’re still trying to figure it out,” Hamilton Finance Director Tom Vanderhorst said of the development pact. “It’s a huge project, it’s a community project, and (we’re) just still defining the scope of it, and where the capital’s going to come from.”

Negotiations are “really a collaborative project with the schools, the county and the city,” Vanderhorst said.

City officials believe the complex, which Spooky Nook believes would draw teams from an estimated three-and-a-half hour drive, not only will be a countywide draw for people and teams seeking training and fitness, but also could lure more families to live in Hamilton. They also have hopes that the facility would help bring customers to an envisioned entertainment district on Main Street as well as along High Street.

Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith and Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson were out of the office Friday and unavailable to comment, as was Sam Beiler, founder of Spooky Nook Sports in the Lancaster, Pa., area.

Beiler previously told this media outlet the proposed Hamilton facility will be of a similar scale to the one in Pennsylvania, which is the nation’s largest indoor sports facility.

The Pennsylvania sports facility, the country’s largest, reached 1 million visitors for the year in the middle of November.

Beiler has said he was confident the Hamilton facility could be open by late 2018.

To view the video on YouTube, visit

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