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Sports Complex at The Highlands Close to Opening

Photo by Scott McCloskey The mammoth new Highlands Sports Complex is getting closer to opening.

A media preview day has been scheduled for next Friday at the new Highlands Sports Complex as the mammoth facility gets closer to opening, Ohio County Commission President Tim McCormick said.

While construction is nearly completed on the sport complex, McCormick said some final details are being addressed by the management company on the 200,000-square-foot multi-sport complex which expects to attract a variety of sports teams from both near and far.

“It will look good. … you want it to be completely ready,” McCormick explained while speaking about the facility’s media preview event next week.

Two soccer fields (which can be divided into four side fields), six basketball/volleyball courts, four batting cages, two pitching tunnels, are just a few of the sports that can be accommodated at the state-of-the-art facility, according to McCormick.

“So we got a little bit of everything there. Anything you can do on turf, you can do in there — soccer, football, softball, baseball, pickleball, flag football, lacrosse, any of those activities,” he added. In addition, a splash pad is being added on the exterior of the building for anyone who may want to cool off following their sporting event and an additional soccer field is being added outside the facility.

“There is going to be a lot of room for activity. We’re also going to have an adventure-land with some rope bridges and climbing walls and things of that nature,” McCormick commented. “The sports complex isn’t just for tourists. The local folks will have the opportunity at times to rent the place out , to go practice. I know there’s some basketball teams that have already contacted them, and they’re trying to set-up schedules. And the thing that we’re trying to impress on the people from SFM, who are running the complex, is to keep the price as low as they possibly can — especially for the locals. We want to make it as accessible to them as we can,” he added.

As the sports complex prepares to open soon, there still hasn’t been an announcement on the official opening date for the nearby Menards store, which is located at the end of The Highlands complex. The store, which initially was expected to open by Memorial Day, continues to navigate through the hiring process in the midst of the pandemic, according to McCormick.

“The COVID-19 (crisis) has had a major impact on their hiring,” McCormick explained. “From what we’re told there’s like six other Menards stores in the state of West Virginia that are in the same boat that we’re in,” he added.

While some smaller businesses have closed at The Highlands in recent months, such as Applebee’s and Logan’s Steakhouse, McCormick said ever since Cabela’s, a destination store, opened in August 2004, The Highlands has continued to evolve and flourish, despite a few set-backs. He said despite Logan’s closing, it was not more than a couple of hours following that announcement that three other people called to express an interest in that property. He said the property where Applebee’s is located belongs to Cabela’s. He said if Cabela’s would decide to bring in another business to that specific location — the Ohio County Commission will be there “to help them.” In addition, he said a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Aspen Dental is expected to open soon in a smaller complex area near Quaker Steak and Lube.

While things have slowed down a little bit at The Highlands as a result of the ongoing pandemic, overall, McCormick believes The Highlands will continue to “blossom.”

“We’ve diversified very well up there … so we’re very proud of that,” he added.

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