With golf, baseball, soccer and two possible additions, Berlin becomes the center of indoor sports centers – Hartford Courant
Two builders are thinking about indoor sports facilities in Berlin, which have been expanded in recent years to include an indoor golf center and an indoor baseball and soccer center.
Quantum of Berlin II plans to build an indoor sports complex on Four Rod Road near the Complete Sheet Metal plant. The company will present its proposal to the planning and zoning commission at a hearing on October 20.
At the same time, Joseph Cascio from Wethersfield wants to open an indoor golf complex in a former industrial building on Deming Road. He took the first step in that direction this month when he convinced the commission to revise their zoning for the BT-2 zone to allow indoor sports complexes.
Cascio predicted that if the city allowed such deals in the area, it would redevelop more vacant buildings around Deming Road.
“Currently in the BT-2 zone there are many existing industrial buildings that need to be revitalized and are just uninhabited at this time,” he told the Planning and Zoning Commission this month.
“Currently the zoning in BT-2 looks to allow for health and fitness (clubs) – that’s the closest thing I’m trying to do,” he said.
“The changes we are calling for would include indoor sports complexes and tennis or racquet clubs. It will open up business opportunities that would not fit into the current zoning,” he said. “I believe the change will increase the development potential for properties in the BT-2 zone.”
Cascio hopes to lease a vacant business park on Deming Road for his center.
“Currently, the adjacent neighbors operate a machine shop and an indoor baseball and soccer facility,” he said. “What a concept. And there’s really no difference between hitting a baseball and hitting a golf ball. Also, this provides a much-needed revitalization of an old, inactive building.”
Cascio said his center would create jobs and said he would like to hire local high school students who could also learn golf.
The facility would have little impact on city services and would allow golfers of all skill levels to either learn the sport or hone their skills, he said. The center would have eight bays for golfers and more than 160 programs to create different simulations. According to Cascio, it would also have a five-hole putting green.
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“The economic development on or around Deming Road is absolutely tremendous. I couldn’t believe the number of new builds,” he told the commission. “This would improve an already desirable area,” he said.
Economic development director Chris Edge told the commission that expanding the list of permitted uses in the BT-2 zone is a good opportunity for future development.
“It’s a sensible use there. They already have football and baseball, it fits with what we’re already trying to do,” Edge said. “These are things that people want to do. The infrastructure is already in place.”
Creating more indoor recreation along this stretch of Deming Road will encourage the reuse or replacement of some older, disused industrial buildings, he said.
The indoor golf center would be open year-round, a useful feature for local residents as well as a draw for out-of-towners, Cascio said.
“I love the four seasons part of it,” Edge said, agreeing. “And that will really be state of the art.”
Now that the zone code has been changed, Cascio can provide a site plan to review his proposal.