The City of Salem’s Moyer Sports Complex is getting a $27.5 million facelift. The official groundbreaking ceremony at the award-winning four-diamond facility took place Monday morning and the upgrades will include pickleball courts, a new skatepark, a state-of-art playground with special needs accessibility, additional parking, and plenty of enhancements on the playing surfaces for players and fans alike.
“This renovation and community project will enable The Moyer to remain one of the top sports complexes on the East Coast,” says John Shaner, Salem Parks and Recreation Director. “The upgrades to the complex will keep us very competitive when it comes to bidding on national tournaments and other events that help drive the economy in Virginia’s Blue Ridge region.”
The 22-acre complex opened in April of 1992, and it annually hosts a variety of events ranging from youth softball and baseball tournaments to NCAA women’s national softball championships. The Moyer is typically in use an average of 230 days a year with a yearly attendance of approximately 250,000 guests.
“The competition for events wasn’t as fierce 30 years ago as it is today,” says Shaner. “Our goal is to maintain our sports marketing reputation and make sure the state of Virginia remains a top destination for tournaments and athletics.”
In 2004, the venue hosted Jennie Finch and the United States Olympic Softball team for a sold-out exhibition game and in 2011 the facility was named the complex of the year in the United States by USA Softball. Year after year a variety of college conferences and the Virginia High School League crown champions at home plate.
“I have to acknowledge the day-to-day work that the City of Salem puts in for not only the Moyer Complex, but into the DNA of sports in this city because it is legendary,” says Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “We understand the importance of this renovation to the families, the citizens and anyone who has the opportunity to come to Salem.”
McClenny was joined at the groundbreaking by United States Congressman Morgan Griffith, Virginia Senator David Suetterlein and a variety of local dignitaries and tourism officials. She reminded all in attendance that 3.2 million of the 80 million people traveling across the Commonwealth each day are participating in sports and outdoor activities.
“The future is extremely bright, and we want sports in Virginia and certainly in the City of Salem to be known as destinations for efficiency, as well-run operations and as places where you find excellent customer service,” she says. “Tourism is an instant revenue generator.”
Salem Mayor Renee Turk and her fellow Council members took part in the ceremonial shoveling of dirt as part of a photo opportunity for local media members. As she thanked those in attendance for being present, she reflected on the facility’s past and its future.
“I used to bring my children to the playground, we picnicked here at the Moyer and watched many games over the years,” says Turk. “Think about how many people have benefitted from the amenities of this facility and how many more will be able to enjoy it once the renovation is complete.”
The renovations are being funded by a combination of city cash and a $15 million bond. The work is being done by Salem-based G&H Contracting with a tentative completion date of early 2024.