The permanent home of one of the pools from last year's U.S. Olympic Swim Trials — along with 18 tennis courts and potentially room for other sports — will be chosen this spring.
Monday, organizers of the planned Omaha Multi-Sport Complex announced that the group was putting out a formal request for proposals from landowners interested in the facility. Along with the Olympic-size pool, the project would include a smaller warm-up pool, seating for 2,000 swimming spectators and 6,500 tennis spectators, weight-training rooms, pro shops and other amenities.
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• Below: See the projected layout of the Omaha Multisports Complex
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The venue, which would go on a site at least 10 acres in size, would be used for state and national competitions in swimming and tennis. The landowner would either donate property or set up a long-term lease, according to the group's plans.
Already, the nonprofit group that would run the facility has raised close to $1 million to buy the Swim Trials pool and has drawn interest from landowners around the area.
Mike Cassling, the board chairman for the Omaha Multi-Sport Complex organization, said he's heard from people with property in Omaha, Bellevue, La Vista and Gretna.
“There's huge interest in general, and a lot of interest from a land standpoint,” he said. “That's the goal of the (request for proposals), to have everybody submit their data, see if any others are interested.”
One site discussed as a possibility, near 67th Street and West Center Road, is owned by the University of Nebraska at Omaha. While it's possible the complex could land on property owned by that institution or another, it would be operated by the independent nonprofit.
“We believe we can hire the right people to run it better and more efficiently than a city or government entity,” Cassling said.
Proposals are due April 5, and the winning offer will be revealed May 21.
Lisa Roskens, an Omaha Multi-Sport Complex board member, said organizers are holding off on significant fundraising efforts until they select a site.
That's because the size of the site will have a big impact on what goes into the facility and its total price tag. If the group buys 20 acres, it would have room to expand to sports outside of swimming and tennis.
“Our attitude has been, until we have something else to raise money for, we're not going to raise money,” she said.
The group will take on its first paid staff member in April, to help coordinate the land selection and acquisition.
Roskens said the group is making progress now that it's jumped over its first big hurdle: buying the pool.
“That to us is very important, to be able to say OK, we have the support of the swimming community, we have raised a million dollars for something,” she said. “Now that we've got that behind us, we can get a site and start making things happen.”
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