Hilliard officials broke ground this week on a sports facility backed by an athlete who many consider to be among the greatest of all time.
Mike Foley reports.
Former two-sport star Bo Jackson brings his sports dome to central Ohio with a simple philosophy - take the outdoor activities indoors. Jackson says he expects high demand at the $5.5 million, 114,000 square-foot-facility in Hilliard's Roger Reynolds Municipal Park.
Bo - That term build it and they will come, they should add that they will come out of the wood works. It's something that the Midwest needs. Sports in the winter are stymied because of snow and ice or it's just too cold. So it's nice to bring the outdoors indoors especially when you can't get out.
Jackson likens his Elite Sports center to a health club membership, as every part of the building will be leased out to groups and teams. The Hilliard facility follows one built in Lockport, Illinois that includes a football field, two baseball fields a dozen batting cages and six mounds. The City of Hilliard will also have access to the center for its recreation programs. Jackson says it will also have classrooms because he wants the kids to learn life lessons as well as sports.
Bo - Life isn't all about hitting a home run or scoring a touchdown. If these kids don't have the right tools to live and survive in the world, baseball skills won't do it for you, football skills won't. We want to teach these kids inside out, the right way to go about being an athlete. Because if they watch what's going on today on tv with all the celebrations and the look at me, they're not gonna make it. Athletics has more to offer kids in this day and age besides a cocky attitude. And that's what we're teaching - to respect the game, respect the play, respect your competitors, respect yourself.
Jackson says he chose Hilliard because the demographics fit perfectly with his facility, and city officials expressed interest after visiting his first center. The sports center is expected to open next summer.