TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County held a private ribbon cutting for its new, planned $32 million sports complex at Ajo and I-10.
It’s called the Kino Sports Complex South.
The county opened the first phase of the project just two days before the opening of the annual Fort Lowell Shootout, a national soccer event which will host 325 teams, including some from Mexico.
This will be the first time the event is held at one location instead of being spread among several areas throughout the county.
With the additional 12 fields, which can also be used for other sports, the tournament will have access to 22 fields.
Kino South complex began as a vision in 1994, but gained steam 15 years ago when Major League Baseball abandoned the county.
Efforts to build a tournament soccer site at Rillito Park fell through when the park foundation lobbied the county to preserve horse racing at the historic track.
The county purchased the 167-acre site in 2014 for $8.75 million.
“It was really designed for regional tournaments and how to basically keep our families in Tucson and Pima County from having to drive up I-10 to tournaments in the Phoenix metropolitan area,” said County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.
The site has already drawn interest from national and international groups hoping to hold tournaments or training on the site.
“We’re not just talking Pima County,” Huckelberry said. “We’re talking the entire Southwest.”
He says the facility “will attract teams from Albuquerque and Los Angeles.”
When completed, the site may also hold an amphitheater, a 10,000 seat stadium, hotels and restaurants.
“There’s still another 60 to 90 acres here to develop,” Huckelberry said.