Debate grows over planned sports complex in Hancock County

Officials to make decision Aug. 29

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. - A debate is growing in Hancock County over plans for a new sports complex.

Both supporters and opponents of the plans have carried out passionate arguments through calls, signs and social media.

The debate stems from the plans to transform a 32-acre corn field on County Road 250 West into a sports complex for the Indiana Bandits Baseball Club.

The youth club consists of 16 teams and about 200 players, but not everyone thinks the sports complex is a good idea.

Some homeowners are concerned the complex will threaten their quiet way of life.
                
"Massive amount of traffic. If there wasn't going to be a lot of traffic, they wouldn't need a 300-space parking lot, the lighting, the noise," Hancock County resident Pat Haley said.

Supporters argued that the complex would be great for the children of the community.

"I can’t phantom why people would not want to see kids out playing baseball," Indiana Bandits President Ron Roberts said. “These kids need to quit playing video games, these kids need to get outside and do something, and then something being put in that could help and benefit these kids, and they want to fight it, I just don't understand it."

Some community members in Hamilton Heights, Spring Lake and other surrounding areas were pushing back with signs, petitions and calls to government officials, citing concerns about well water, wildlife, lights and traffic.

Roberts argued the sports complex would be an investment in kids for generations.

"There's more support for this than there is against it," Roberts said. “Really the only problem I've had through this whole process is that they've attacked our sponsors, and by doing that, what they've done is that they're taking money out of the hands of kids."

Critics of the complex insisted they were not against the kids, but they believe the facility does not fit in with the mostly-senior community.

Hancock County officials were set to decide whether or not to pass the permit for the complex on Thursday August 29.

Roberts said if the permit is denied, the next step is court.

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