Indoor recreational facility proposed for ManchesterBy TED SIEFER
New Hampshire Union Leader
January 02. 2013 11:59PM
MANCHESTER - City youth could soon have a place to hone their baseball, lacrosse and soccer skills all year round.
A group of business partners is planning to convert warehouse space on Allard Drive into the Ultimate Sports Academy, an indoor recreational facility that will feature batting cages, workout rooms and practice areas.
The proposal still needs final approval from the Manchester Planning Board, which is set to review the project this evening. The developers are seeking a variance to have 61 parking spaces, 23 less than required under the zoning. The meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.
Recreational uses are already permitted at the proposed site, a complex on the west bank of the Merrimack River that also houses the Alpha-Bits day care center.
The parking lot is used by the day care center and the Ray the Mover moving company.
Tony Slevira, the manager of the Ultimate Sports Academy, said the facility would be the only one of its kind in the area, offering young athletes, ages 10 and up, a way to practice after school and during the off-season.
"We'll be working with teams or individually to develop a skill set," he said.
There are several similar indoor sports centers, under the same name, around the country.
Slevira said the Ultimate Sports Academy will work with area leagues and schools.
"It's going to be the winter home for the New Hampshire Black Hawks (baseball league), and I believe the Manchester Soccer Club and New England Elite Lacrosse," Slevira said, adding that he also hoped to work with varsity and junior varsity teams at area high schools.
The space will have permanent batting cages, artificial turf, workout equipment, and nets and barriers that can be configured depending on the activity. "It will be a highly flexible space," Slevira said.
The space is not large enough to hold full-team competitions, Slevira said.
While the planning board must still sign off on the variance, Slevira and his partners have been moving forward with the project. There's an Ultimate Sports Academy website (www.usanh.com) and a Facebook page, which features photos of the construction in progress.
Slevira said that the Alpha-Bits day care center has been supportive of the project, noting that the day care operates until the afternoon, while the sports academy's activities will begin around that time and go until about 10 p.m.
"We think these will go together synergistically. It's actually common for day care and this type of business to be on the same property," Slevira said, adding "from the city's perspective, we're not anticipating too many issues."
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Ted Siefer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.