Porter County will soon find out if building sporting facilities will serve the community and attract more sports tourism. Information from a sports development and Expo Center redevelopment study will be shared next week at the Porter County Commissioners meeting in Valparaiso.

January 13, 2015

News Release

VALPARAISO, Ind. – The international firm that studied whether Porter County should construct sporting facilities to serve local residents and attract more sports tourism will unveil the results of their Porter County Sports Development Study and the results of their Porter County Expo Center Redevelopment Study.

The findings of the studies will be shared at the Porter County Commissioners meeting, which is set for 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20 at the Porter County Government Center, 155 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso.

Bill Krueger from Conventions, Sports, & Leisure International (CSL) will present the findings to the Porter County Commissioners, who authorized the studies. Porter County Council members have also been invited, and the public is welcome to attend.

Indiana Dunes Tourism oversaw the two studies on behalf of the Porter County Commissioners. The tourism agency contracted with CSL, which specializes in both the development of fairgrounds and exposition centers and sports development. Doing both projects together saved time and resources.

Indiana Dunes Tourism Executive Director Lorelei Weimer said the movie Field of Dreams popularized the phrase “If you build it, they will come.” But in reality, building a sporting facility without doing a feasibility study could result in facility that doesn’t draw the anticipated attendance or that costs more than anticipated to operate and maintain it.

The same applies to exposition centers, Weimer said. She said the Expo Center is an important asset to our county, but the buildings are old and lack some of the features and multi-use flexibility of newer facilities. The Expo Center study looked into whether the land is adequate to handle future needs, what building improvements are needed, whether new buildings need to be constructed and whether the Expo Center site is the correct location.

In doing the sports and Expo Center studies, CSL worked with Populous, an internationally-renowned architectural firm that specializes in designing event facilities of all types, including fairgrounds, equestrian facilities, arenas, exhibition buildings and multi-purpose event complexes.

“We are pleased with the results,” Weimer said. “CSL did an excellent job of gathering data, pinpointing the projects that make the most sense for Porter County, and outlining the cost to build and maintain what they are suggesting. They also show the economic return if Porter County invests in sports and the redevelopment of the Expo Center.”

Source: Indiana Dunes Tourism

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