Lake Norman & Mooresville

Play ball, bring in the dollars

The region is in a good position to get an economic boost from Little League Baseball.

Beginning sometime in 2012, Mooresville will house one of the largest baseball complexes for baseball players ages 8-13 years old.

Announced last year, America's Park is the brain-child of Lou Presutti, a resident of nearby Salisbury.

Presutti also developed the Cooperstown Dreams Park , another youth baseball park complex in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Although similar to the Cooperstown Dreams Park, America's Park will be larger.

The privately funded $20 million complex located on 170 acres of land on Rankin Hill Road will have 25 lighted ball fields, 60 cabins to house players, a laundry facility, dining hall and concession stands.

Once built, America's Park will host tournaments bringing in players from all across the country.

"I don't think the public truly understands the impact this will have on our economy and how every business will eventually benefit from the tourism boom that America's Park will generate," said Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce President Karen Shore.

Mooresville Convention and Visitor's Bureau Chairman Ron Johnson agrees.

He claims a conservative estimate of America's Park attendance will generate 55,000 to 60,000 room-nights per year at local hotels.

In addition, he believes this will result in $30 million to $35 million of direct spending annually into the local economy.

"What we like about (the Park) is not only the benefit to the county and city, but it's something that's great for the children," said Johnson.

America's Park is a little more optimist on the numbers, and in a news release claims that the complex will result in 80,000 to 100,000 room-nights.

Either way, Presutti is glad America's Park will be located in Mooresville.

It wasn't an easy decision to make.

More than 30 other cities were in the running for America's Park and it took about 14 months to decide on Mooresville.

It appears the dedication of the individuals in the multiple boards, task forces and other organizations in Mooresville and Iredell County were what helped to bring this park to the children of Mooresville.

"We thought it was a great fit, and the enthusiasm from the city and county officials (was instrumental). Everybody was wonderful there. ... You can't get any better anywhere," said Presutti.