Marion Sports Arena Catalyst For Grant County Economic Development

By Scott Sarvay
By John W. Davis

May 18, 2011 Updated May 19, 2011 at 11:07 PM EDT

MARION, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Marion City Council has approved a plan to bring a new sports and entertainment arena to Grant County.

Council approved a $30-million bond for the project on Tuesday.

The bond money will come from the Midwest Disaster Relief fund.

No local taxpayers' money will be used.

"Game Seven", a company based out of Chicago, will own the building and will privately fund the project by repaying by the low interest bond.

The 4,100 seat complex would be home to a USHL hockey team and could be finished by July 2012.

The arena would also seat more than 5,000 people for concerts, catering to crowds between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.

Construction is expected to begin in June 2011.

The arena is expected to employ about 50 full-time workers and 200 part-time workers.

The venue will be located at I-69 exit 64 and State Road 18 in Marion.

"This corner's had a live, work, and play vision for a number of years now and this is going to be the play part of it," said Marion Director of Development Services Darren Reese.

"We've got an adjacent apartment facility about $15 million dollar, 250-unit apartment complex that's going to be adjacent to it. We're across the street from a brand new Ivy Tech there's a lot of energy at this interchange," explained Reese.

In a few years, the area surrounding the Marion Sports & Entertainment Arena could be home to dozens of businesses, bringing more jobs to Grant County.

Last year, a national business magazine recognized Marion as the number one small city for economic development in Indiana.

That same magazine, also recognized Marion, as the ninth best across the United States.

Meanwhile, Reese told Indiana's NewsCenter Marion and Grant County leaders have locked in about $400 million dollars in new business investments.

Those projects include a $175 million dollar wind farm, a wind turbine gear transmission plant, a plastic to oil conversion facility, health care and financial services investments.

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