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90,000 square foot indoor sports arena proposed at Orion's Friendship Park



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March 14, 2012 - If all goes according to plan, Orion sports teams won't have to travel outside the township to play indoors anymore.

Jim Murphy and Robb York, two Orion residents and parents of athletes, proposed building and operating an 90,000 square foot indoor sports arena in Orion Township at the March 5 township board meeting. They predict having the option to play in Orion Township will not only spare parents the cost of traveling to Pontiac or elsewhere for venues, but that the arena will also attract players from other townships. With this comes more benefits according to them, including increased business for Orion business owners.

"This town is driven boy sports," said York. "We can do a lot more with it by having this facility. You're talking about around 3,000 families benefiting from this facility. On average, these families are travlling around 35 minutes each way to these outside venues and that's a little over a quarter tank of gas which equates to around 40 to 50 bucks a trip. A lot of these families also stop near their destinantion for drink and food as well then come home.

"There's a lot of money spent indirectly by building this facility, with money in Orion being able to go back into Orion. Money could also come in from other teams that use the facility."

Township Supervisor JoAnn VanTassel was hesitant to speak in favor or against the facility, but said the township is going to make sure everyone approves going forward with the project.

"First of all, I want to be sure the neighbors to this facility won't be upset and second we need to develop a written contract," said VanTassel. "This is something, from what I hear, that sports kids and parents want. It would be nice when the winter comes for these kids to have a place to practice. It has plusses we would like to evaluate and I think the potential is good.

"It will all depend on the agreement negotiated."

A public forum is this Monday, March 19, 7 p.m. at the Orion Township Board meeting for public comment.

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