BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Sports Facilities Companies, a national firm that has developed ballfields, event centers and sports complexes throughout the United States, has been selected by the Lucas County Board of Commissioners to provide a thorough analysis and plan for the Recreation Center on Key Street in Maumee.
During a May 2 press conference, commissioner Pete Gerken said that while SFC was the only company to respond to the commissioners’ February request for proposals, “it’s the one we wanted.”
SFC is comprised of Sports Facilities Advisory, Sports Facilities Management and Sports Facilities Development, and has guided recreational projects in over 2,000 communities, including the Cedar Point Sports Complex.
“This company has a proven track record,” commissioner Gary Byers said. “Lucas County is looking to the experts for the best use, top to bottom, now and in the future.”
SFC will engage the community as part of its feasibility study before making recommendations.
“The Rec Center is functioning, but it deserves to be better,” Gerken said.
The 70-acre property includes the Ned Skeldon Stadium and baseball field, seven additional baseball/ softball diamonds, six outdoor handball courts, the racetrack of the Northwest Ohio Quarter Midget Racing organization, six tennis courts, a football field/running track, a paved walking trail and asphalt parking areas. The site also includes two recreation halls with a total of 53,000 square feet of exhibit space that is available for trade shows, conventions and other events. The Lucas County Fair Board also occupies the Rec Center grounds and hosts the annual county fair.
By the fall, the grandstand and bleachers of the Ned Skeldon Stadium will be demolished. Named for former commissioner Ned Skeldon – father of current commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak – the stadium was used by the Toledo Mud Hens from 1965 to 2002. The aging structure is not safe for fans, so it will be removed, but continued use of the ballfield will be allowed.
Skeldon Wozniak said she’s excited that the Mud Hens are considering using some of the old seats in an area of the team’s new home stadium at Fifth Third Field in downtown Toledo.
Fans will also have an opportunity to win the 1970s-era stadium seats through a lottery. Those interested should email TheNed@co.lucas.oh.us.