LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Spalding University broke ground on a new sports complex Friday. University officials believe it could positively impact the development of west Louisville.
The area between 8th and 9th Streets at Kentucky Street will be home to the university’s soccer and softball teams.
University President Tori Murden McCLure said she could see it benefiting more than just the school.
McClure says she can't even go to a nearby grocery store without someone mentioning it.
"Every time I come through, [the cashier] is like when are you going to start those fields?" she said. "It's taken us longer than I wish it had, but we're going to start those fields now."
Mayor Greg Fischer has been ready for this day too. He said he is excited to use athletics to make for a tighter-knit Louisville.
"This will become a real beehive of activity bringing people together," he said. "Of course, that's what you love for the city."
Fischer said there are nearly $1 billion of construction projects going on in west Louisville, which he said will lead to a more vibrant community.
“The fields here right on 9th Street now really represent the bridge that we’re creating here in our city between people from all parts -- downtown, west end, east end, south end,” Fischer said. “[It’s a] major leadership move by Spalding.”
McClure added: “With that historic divide of 9th Street itself, there’s also sort of this ragged edge of downtown that hasn’t been cared for or taken care of. And it’s our job to fix that and then cross that boundary and then keep on going.”
The complex will also be available to people outside of Spalding’s athletics department.
Spalding Athletics will have priority, but it will also be available for other events, like sports tournaments. Different organizations across Louisville will be able to rent it.