HAZLETON -- A massive new indoor sports complex is now open to the public, but there's even more to come here.
Some teens have been saying for years that they need an indoor sports complex in Hazleton so they can practice all year round and now they have it.
"The Hazleton Area Recreational Program Indoor Multisport Complex" is open and an indoor groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of a project to make the place even better for area athletes.
"There's not many places around here that have this kind of support and there's just so much to do here. You can hit, you can field, everything, it's all in one. It's awesome," said Megan Trivelpiece, Stripes and Strikes travel team member. "Now I can work on throwing and all that different types of stuff like backhands and it's awesome."
Athletes used to travel more than an hour round trip to Wilkes-Barre to train in the winter. Coaches hope by having this new indoor facility in Hazleton, they can keep kids off the streets.
"More so, I believe the kids are getting into trouble because they are bored. It's just that simple. When you're bored, you have nothing to go to no outlet, you run into the bad things," said assistant boxing coach Keman Jackson.
With a 16,000-square-foot facility with a turf field for everything from field hockey to football, coaches say it'll be hard to be bored. They're also going to keep membership fees down so that everyone can join in on the fun.
"We're trying to keep it as low as possible, trying to do whatever it takes to keep it as low as possible, that's what our passion is," said Jim Clement, president of the Hazleton Area Recreation Program.
This sports complex was made possible by a $200,000 state gaming grant and officials say they're only 1/4th of the way done. They still have a lot more plans to make it even better.
"This location is a huge building. It's on many acres, so there's room for expansion. This community still dreams of having its own hockey rink," said state representative Tarah Toohil.
The multisport complex will also have tournaments for boxing and other sports coming soon.