LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Track and Field will be the focus of the upcoming Sports and Learning Complex in West Louisville.

Development plans are moving forward at 30th and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, with the Louisville Urban League launching Phase II of the fundraising campaign on Thursday. The complex, which will sit on a 24-acre lot, will feature both an indoor and outdoor track, encouraging people all over the city to utilize the space to grow their skills.

“I live across the street from there now and it’s concrete and weeds,” neighbor Beverly Turner said. “So we’re looking forward to what it will become and what it will do for our neighborhood.”

The complex is planned for 30th and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
The complex is planned for 30th and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

So, why track and field? Those behind the project said research shows young people who participate in the “equalizing” sport have the highest grades and chances of attending college. They also have the lowest truancy rates. Kids and families were invited to practice their sports skills with a RunJumpThrow event hosted by USA Track & Field ahead of the Urban League’s updates Thursday.

But before they break ground, the Urban League and its partners first need to raise more funds – and they’re passing the baton to the community to help.

So far, the organization has raised more than $17 million for the state-of-art facility, with estimated costs totaling around $35 million.

Alice Houston is co-chairing the Development Committee for the Sports and Learning Complex.
Alice Houston is co-chairing the Development Committee for the Sports and Learning Complex. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

The city made a $10 million commitment for the project in June 2018, but with the $32 million dollar shortfall leading Mayor Fischer to put a halt on similar projects, the future of the complex was in question. But the Urban League was vigilant and confident in Fischer’s commitment. And in March, Metro Council voted to honor the multi-million dollar pledge.

“This will be one of the signature projects that when history looks back on this time that we’ve all had the honor to participate in, we’ll say that made a huge difference in the life of Louisville and the life of West Louisville, most importantly in the youth of West Louisville,” Mayor Fischer said.

The Urban League has challenged thousands of area companies to help the project reach the finish line with the #RunWithUs campaign. The goal is to bring fundraising up to $20 million by September 30. They’re seeking to do so through the purchase of any of the 4,000 seats that will be housed in the complex. Any person or business can put their name on a seat for a $5,000 gift. Already, the organization has compiled a list of 4,000 businesses and plan to visit 200 in person to encourage donations.

Kids were invited to the RunJumpThrow event ahead of the Sports and Learning Complex fundraising announcement.
Kids were invited to the RunJumpThrow event ahead of the Sports and Learning Complex fundraising announcement. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Their hope is that the money will be funneled back into the city. The complex will have the capacity to host track clubs, public and private school meets and NCAA track and field championships, according to the campaign. In turn, thousands of new people with disposable income would be spending money in the metro.

“The Sports Commission estimates that during the indoor track season alone, 20 to 30,000 people will travel to the facility from across the country to compete or spectate, which will generate $47 million a year in economic impact,” Alice Houston, co-chair of the Development Committee, explained.

Developers also predict the project will create jobs, improve health and positively impact Russell property values.

Information on fundraising can be found here.

Construction should start in late 2019. They are hoping to have the indoor and outdoor tracks complete by 2020.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

Source: Urban League aims to raise $20 million for West Louisville sports complex by September