ELDERSBURG -- Three indoor sports arenas in Carroll County? Looks like it.
Sykesville resident Mark Hughes plans to lease part of a warehouse building on Route 32 in Eldersburg opposite Liberty High School and convert it into an all-purpose indoor sports arena.
Along with the established Four Seasons Sports Complex in Hampstead and Westminster resident Jim Shank's plans of an arena in Westminster, Mr. Hughes could give the county its third such facility.
The proposed arena will feature indoor sports for all ages, including soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, gymnastics, field hockey and aerobics.
Mr. Hughes plans to lease 17,000 square feet of the building, owned by Leroy Merritt, owner of the Merritt Racquetball and Fitness Centers throughout the Baltimore area.
The arena will feature an enclosed AstroTurf field, spectator seating, a sporting goods store, a snack bar, locker rooms, a small basketball court and a party room.
"We're going to emphasize family and youth activities, but they'll be something available for everyone," Mr. Hughes says
"People in this part of the county have to travel 40 minutes to compete in a higher level in sports like soccer and lacrosse; now it will be right here. We're hoping to have it operating by the second week of November for the first winter session."
Mr. Hughes originally planned to put the arena in the Howard County portion of Sykesville, but the county's planning board didn't approve it four weeks ago.
One week later, he found the building in Eldersburg. Because it is in a commercial area, he doesn't expect the same problems with getting the site approved by the Carroll board.
Mr. Hughes is treasurer of the Freedom Area Recreation Council and commissioner of the Freedom Optimist Lacrosse Program. The 15-year Sykesville resident is excited about the different activities that can take place in the arena, mentioning karate, weightlifting and table tennis among the more common indoor sports.
"There are so many things possible it makes it really fun," he says.
"Everyone in the area has been very positive toward the arena and is particularly excited about the sporting goods store. It'll be the first in Eldersburg."