Large sports complex coming to Lincoln

Lincoln Youth Complex
Lincoln Youth Complex(Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau)
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 11:26 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 2:34 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A new baseball and softball complex is coming to the Capital City.

The City of Lincoln, along with Nebraska Wesleyan University, the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other community partners made the announcement on Wednesday morning about the Lincoln Youth Complex.

Lincoln Sports Complex2
Lincoln Sports Complex2(Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau)

“The feeling I had from the first time I got out of bed in the morning, it was like the first day of school man,” Jeff Maul, executive director of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, said. “I couldn’t wait, and just to be a part of this energy on a beautiful day in Lincoln is something special.”

The new complex, which will feature eight turf fields, will go near Oak Lake Park on the southeast side of N. 1st and Cornhusker Highway. Two of the fields will be the new home of the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves.

The outfields of the youth fields will also be used for flag football, soccer, lacrosse, and other sports.

“There is a dire need to expand our youth sports facilities and provide a destination for more people than ever before,” Maul said. “LYC is designed to be a space for players of all backgrounds and abilities to come together and play.”

Once complete -- it’s expected to bring in 100,000 new visitors in its first year and double that by year three. But it’s not just the promise of revenue that pulled community support.

“Providing an opportunity for our student-athletes to work with young kids who maybe can’t afford to be in organized baseball and softball is a really special component,” Darrin Good, president of Nebraska Wesleyan University, said. “It’s not just a ball complex, but it’s an ethos.”

The project aims to give greater access to disadvantaged youth. And one of the fields will be the home of Homer’s Heroes for mentally and physically challenged children.

“All of this work just furthers the vision of one Lincoln, where we champion practices that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion here in our community,” Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said.

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2023 and be completed in Fall 2024. It’s expected to cost $27 million, with around $10 million already raised from private donors. Another $8 million is coming as ARPA funds from the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County.