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County officials says it's time for South Carroll to have an indoor sports complex again and staff are working together to see what can be done.

Space is "an issue for virtually every recreational council," said Jeff Degitz, director of Carroll County Parks and Recreation. "There is a lot of scrambling for facility times that goes on."

Area recreational councils have limited space on county-owned fields, and Carroll County Public Schools' field and gym schedules are packed.

As a result, Carroll County Department of Economic Development officials said last week they will team up with Parks and Recreation and the County Commissioners to see what can be done to locate an indoor sports complex to the Eldersburg area.

"I think it would be important to work with the community, possibly to identify county-owned land or find land that could fit that use," said Larry Twele, director of the county's economic development office.

Eldersburg once had an indoor sports complex, SuperSports, but it closed more than three years ago. So now, if athletes want to stay indoors and stay in Carroll, they must go to the Carroll Indoor Sports Center, in Westminster, or Four Seasons Sports Complex and Fitness Center, in Hampstead.

Profitability is a challenge in opening indoor sports complexes and that will be key to finding a solution, Twele said. But he said the county is willing to work with a developer on a business model that could lower costs.

"It's a difficult business model because it's high overhead, low income," he said.

Discussions are too early to tell whether an indoor sports complex would be a public venture or a private venture.

Degitz said no bids or advertisements have been completed, but he would not object to a private-public partnership. Also, what kind of sports complex, if any, will remain to be seen.

Nobody questions the demand.

"The bottom line is the more facilities in the county, the better it is for the councils to give them more room and more time to accommodate the facilities," he said. "I believe having a gym with a fee attached is better than having no gym at all."

Now, in some instances, two teams have to practice on the same court, and that doesn't provide an ideal environment, Degitz said.

"You have teams doubling up for practice time, which is not the best situation as you're trying to coach and talk over the bouncing balls," he said.

South Carroll will see more soccer, softball and baseball fields at 140-acre Krimgold Park, which will start construction this spring at Woodbine and Buckhorn roads in Woodbine.

The $4.8 million park will be built in two phases and will feature five soccer/multipurpose fields and four baseball/softball fields, and other amenities.

Until an indoor sports complex is opened, the new South Carroll Senior & Community Center on Mineral Hill Road, scheduled to open in August, will provide court time with its middle school-sized gym, Degitz said.

"That will absolutely provide some relief," he said.

Degitz said the county will continue to listen to feedback from volunteers and recreational councils about their needs.


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