Indoor Recreation Needs Assessment

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Cary is evaluating the current and future needs for new and upgraded indoor recreation facilities throughout the community.  

Western Cary

Separate from those projects included in the 2019 Shaping Cary’s Tomorrow Bonds, Cary has identified the need for a new community recreational facility in western Cary and is examining how that offering might be paired with other facility needs in the area. Initial funding for a portion of the Western Facilities Project is being discussed as a potential part of the proposed FY 2021 Budget.

Central Cary

Cary Towne Center is in the process of being redeveloped which will include shops, apartments, offices, and restaurants. An indoor sports center is proposed as a part of that redevelopment. The project will take up five of the total 87 acres of the mall site. This facility could be used to supplement and/or replace the aging and outdated Herb Young Community Center. For more, see Eastern Cary Gateway.

Wake County Multi-Purpose Indoor Recreation and Sports Complex

Cary is working with Wake County to determine whether addressing Cary’s recreational needs could have synergies with Wake County’s regional needs. In 2018, Wake County completed the Destination Strategic Plan (DSP), which assessed the current sports facilities within the county and identified ways to strengthen the county’s competitive position as a sports tourism destination to host more large-scale sporting events and tournaments for the county. The plan found that a missing element of the countywide sports complex model is an indoor, multiuse sports facility that will balance with the county’s inventory of outdoor sports fields and venues. The DSP suggests the need to develop a sports complex to support countywide sports tourism and travel and to attain Wake county’s long-term goals.

Cary is exploring the potential for this facility through Wake County’s request for proposal process. In January 2020, Cary responded to Wake County’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Wake County Hospitality Tax Grant to help pay for the new multi-purpose indoor sports center. Announcement of the $35 million grant recipient will take place in February/March 2020.

Project Concept

The purpose of the new facility will be to host new youth, collegiate, and amateur sporting events that would continue Cary’s track-record as a destination for sports tourism. Listed below are the facility programming options being considered:

  • Approximately 100,000 square feet of competition space
    • 12 full-sized basketball courts (convertible to 20 full-sized volleyball courts)
    • Capability of transforming portion of competition space into a 4,000-seat arena for championship games, e-gaming tournaments, and non-athletic performances
  • Approximately 25,000 square feet of multipurpose space for event support, tournament meetings, exhibit space, walkthroughs, etc.
  • Dedicated room/meeting space for esports practice with infrastructure to support esports technical requirements
  • Full-sized team locker rooms with showers
  • Full-service restaurant
  • Commercial kitchen space for events and catering
  • Weight room/workout facilities
  • Elevated walking track
  • Ample storage space for all sports equipment and supplies.

The decision to proceed with this project would be part of a larger process to study community center needs town-wide, particularly in western Cary

Project Schedule

The Town is in the initial phase of studying facility programming, project costs, and other revenue sources for this project. Funding for the multi-purpose indoor sports center was not included in Cary’s 2019 Bond so additional funding would be needed, likely through increased property taxes.

To view the full schedule, developed in coordination with the Hospitality Tax Grant requirements, visit our Get the Facts page about this project. 


Project Co-managers 

Doug McRainey
Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources
(919) 469-4066

Russ Overton
Deputy Town Manager
(919) 469-4033