Rock Hill residents now know how much it will cost to use the new mega sports complex opening next spring that is expected to draw tourism.
Rock Hill City Council approved the fees Monday night for the indoor sports center opening in Knowledge Park. The site at 326 Technology Way is part of a revitalization effort to include hotels, restaurants, offices and more connecting Winthrop University and Old Town Rock Hill.
"We do have a fee schedule that ranges from anywhere from free, for use of the walking track that's going to be built in there, up to $15,000 per weekend (for large tournaments)," said John Taylor, head of the parks, recreation and tourism department for the city.
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Taylor said the sports site will be "another piece to the economic engine of Rock Hill," but it isn't just about tourism.
"We're also very proud of what it will provide for our local citizens," he said.
The site will have a 12,500-square-foot championship court with 1,200 seats, a main court at 72,000 square feet with 700 permanent seats, eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts and a walking track.
Walking track access is free, with membership to the rest of the gym at $5 per day or $120 per year. Basketball or volleyball program rates are $50 per person, both for youth and adults. A single basketball or volleyball court can be rented for $50 an hour.
The facility starts bringing in the bigger dollars with tournaments. Renting the full site — championship court, gym, team lounge and locker rooms — starts at $15,000 per weekend. Tournament rental Monday through Thursday starts at $5,000 per day.
Renting the championship court alone will cost $2,000. The team lounge runs $1,600 per day; the coaches lounge $300 for the first three hours or $600 per day.
The rates are comparable to similar sites elsewhere, city officials say.
"We've compared that," Taylor said, "and we compare favorably."
At the State of the Community address earlier this month, Mayor John Gettys said the complex will be the second largest site of its kind on the East Coast not attached to a college. He also said it's already booked from the opening through the end of next year, and it "will be booked every weekend for the rest of our lives."
"This is a game-changer, I think, for downtown," Gettys said.
Gettys said Rock Hill should prepare for 3,000 to 5,000 visitors in the city every weekend.
"Business owners, stop and think about the new market that's coming to your community if you're in the business of serving people," he said. "It's going to be fabulous."
Yet another part of serving people is having a place for existing residents to play. Taylor's department will add 11 staff positions as it grows into a major recreation and tourism force.
Council also approved new recreation rates for youth sports.
"We are asking for a fee increase of $5 per year for three years," Taylor said. "That would take us from $35 to $50."
Those rates apply for baseball, soccer, softball and flag football.
"We've looked at cities surrounding us," Taylor said. "We've even looked at some statewide cities. We're still, even at the $50 end, on the low end of the scale."
Taylor said the new rates won't keep any child from playing, with scholarship programs available.
"We will not deny any child the right to play because of an inability to pay," he said.