The site of Cooper Stadium is being turned into a race track, sports and research development facility.
Officials broke ground Wednesday to usher in the new $40 million SPARC, which stands for the Sports Pavilion Automotive Research Complex.
“It's worked through its life as a baseball park but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a second life,” said developer Bill Schottenstein.
“Today, we put another stake in the ground to 'spark' a new era,” said Mayor Michael Coleman.
The first two new tenants will be the Midwestern Auto Group or MAG which is the world's largest dealer of luxury European brands.
“MAG will finally be visible from I-70, that means my brand will be seen by tens of thousands of eyes each month, some for the very first time ever,” said Mark Brentlinger of MAG.
The other tenant announced will be the non-profit organization, Clean Fuels Ohio.
The developer said there will still be pavilion seating and a race track for visitors to enjoy.
But the west side residents that talked to WBNS-10TV on Wednesday said they are most excited about the potential for what lies beyond the fence.
“We like the idea of new jobs, cleaner area,” said Dan Clifford.
Dan and Marilyn Clifford live on the west side, a few years back, and started a business near the stadium.
“Ever since the park has left, we've had nothing but crime go up, a lot of bad people on the streets,” said Dan.
They are optimistic about what SPARC will bring.
“I'm thrilled it's coming in again seeing all the new cars, money coming down here, new restaurants, new training facilities. I can’t wait,” said Marilyn.
Some in the area were worried about noise coming from the cars, but months of research by the developer have calmed those fears.
“I think there's always the what-if, but opportunity always has some risks,” said Stephanie Coe, Southwest Area Commission Chair.
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