Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience will "transform the community that surrounds it." Work officially began today on the $35 million project, which will offer sports experiences featuring organizations including the Pacers, Colts and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Riley Children’s Health Chief Operating Officer Russ Williams says the attraction will be a "perfect connection point" to promote healthy lifestyles to children and their families.

Hogsett tells Inside INdiana Business the project pumps significant resources into a neighborhood with a high amount of gun violence and that the city has identified as a focus area for public safety needs. He says the major investment by the Children’s Museum and Riley Hospital will make "a significant difference."

Organizers are expecting a major economic impact from the development. A study from the University of Michigan projected the Sports Legends Experience will have a $140 million impact over five years once it’s complete. Officials say the outdoor portion of the project will operate at least seven months out of the year, while indoor facilities will remain open year-round.

Williams says the development plays into its primary goal of improving the health and wellness of all Hoosier kids. He says the health programming will be based on the "best science available," and adds that people who develop healthy habits as children are more likely to continue that lifestyle as adults.

Construction is expected to be complete by the spring of 2018.

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