CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Kathy Reagan Young, who heads a Facebook group about growing Western Branch, is already on board with a new proposal to build a field house there.
“We needed a shot in the arm like this, and this makes sense on so many levels,” she said.
An overview from Councilman Roland Davis included photos of the Virginia Beach Field House, for illustration purposes only. He is picturing an indoor facility with turf fields, volleyball and basketball courts. It is not clear where the building would go, but somewhere in the Chesapeake Square retail area, he said.
“It’s a family oriented destination venue. This would draw, I think from all cities, all areas,” Davis said.
This year Macy’s announced one of the stores it would close was the Chesapeake Square Mall location. Sears has already left the area.
“Things have gone a bit downhill. It’s gotten a little tired in Western Branch. Our business hub, things have seen better days, let’s say,” Young said.
Young said the proposal would mean families in Chesapeake would not have to drive to the Peninsula or Virginia Beach for youth sporting events. She also thinks it would help fill up the area’s hotels and restaurants.
Under the proposal, the city would use existing funds and spend about $7 to 8 million to build it. Then they would look for someone to lease, manage, and operate the facility, and invest in it, Davis said.
“The city has available resources to do this, but also you have to realize, if you take the Chesapeake Square retail area and have something like this, it could draw hundreds of thousands of families during the year. You’ll have a raising of real estate values, you’ll have an increase in sales tax revenue,” he said.
If you want to learn more about the project, there will be a question and answer session at the Portsmouth-Chesapeake Elks Lodge at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. On February 9, city council will decide what capital projects they will include in their plan, Davis said.