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      Fort Madison Sports Complex will tempt traveling teams

      The future site of the sports complex on 48th street

      The Fort Madison community joined together to raise $3.1 million for the future Fort Madison Sports Complex.

      A recent adjusted estimate increased the money needed for the project by about $500,000 dollars.

      For decades the Fort Madison community discussed the idea of a sport's complex. When plans became more solid a few years ago, the Fort Madison Partners started working to find out how to build a complex that would build tourism in the city.

      "The biggest thing that we've identified or at least noticed is that a lot of the youth sports are becoming traveling teams," FM Partners Executive Director Tim Gobble said.

      The group worked to capitalize on traveling teams by drawing them to a new sports complex. After visits to other complexes, and talks with coaches and sports teams, plans came together for the Fort Madison Sports Complex.

      Gobble said, "Once we get our foot in the door with all the leagues in the area, then we will be able to build on those tournaments that will constitute overnight stays which will bring in another hotel, which obviously brings in tax money."

      Community support for the project poured in through personal and business donations, but the complex is not yet fully funded. Even though the estimate for the baseball, softball, soccer, and football fields jumped, Gobble believes the sports complex committee will find the funding.

      "Fort Madison is a community that has always wrapped itself around different projects. Whether it's a high school needing band uniforms or another high school needing to go to Rome for singing competitions, they've always come forward and they've always put their best foot forward. They feel that this a piece that will help identify Fort Madison," Gobble said.

      Since the complex will be run by its own corporate board after construction, the city will not be responsible for its maintenance. Construction on groundwork will begin Spring 2013.