Was the Southridge Sports Complex worth the tax payer's investment?

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The Southridge Sports Complex was a huge investment for the City of Kennewick, using taxpayer money. Millions went towards the state-of-the-art-facility with the idea of making that money back.

This summer was a hit and the complex was booked up. KEPR checked in to see if this taxpayer expense is paying off.

It's time to catch up on maintenance after a busy summer debut at the Southridge Sports Complex.

Sponsorship manager, Brandon Lange says, "We've never run a facility like this, but we've done an incredible job."

The Complex is quiet on a Wednesday morning. But the summer offered non-stop tournaments.

One local explains, "Little kids playing soccer football, things like that."
Another says, "I see a lot of people going in and out of there."

More than 50,000 visitors have hit the Southridge Complex since March. Tri-Cities tourism experts predict that's brought more than $5 million in Kennewick and surrounding businesses.

And the calls are already pouring in with bookings for next year. Five additional tournaments are signed up to use the Southridge Complex next summer.

The money that comes in goes to the general piggy bank for Kennewick. This can pay for anything from street repairs, to police and other city services. Kennewick is being conservative with the money, hoping to save up.

All this success takes some pressure off the initial investment of the complex, but for Brandon, it's about capitalizing on tourism dollars year round.

Brandon says, "Now, we're trying to focus our efforts to bring tournaments indoors."

The city looks forward to those additional dollars, and athletes are happy, too.

He continues, "The smiles on the kids faces."

The complex goes beyond Kennewick. Much bigger tournaments have come to town this year, utilizing Pasco's complex at the same time as well. And the dollars spent from tournaments are never limited to Kennewick. The entire Tr-Cities saw a boost as well.