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Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center to host USA Track and Field events

According to the Louisville Sports Commission, the events will bring in 14,000 athletes and could generate more than $10 million for the city.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just one year after opening, the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center scored a major win.

On Monday, the Louisville Sports Commission announced the center was chosen to host three USA Track and Field (USATF) championship events in 2023 and 2024. Two additional events will be held at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.

According to the Louisville Sports Commission, these events will bring in 14,000 athletes to Louisville. It's expected to generate more than $10 million for the city.

"This facility is doing exactly what we thought it would do already in the first year in pandemic," Sadiqa Reynolds, President of the Louisville Urban League said. The Urban League spearheaded the development of the center.

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In a press release, USATF CEO Max Siegel called the Sports & Learning Center one of the "top competition venues" in the country, making it the perfect place to host these athletes.

"We're excited to provide more competitive opportunities for our Youth and Master's athletes to shine and what we're sure will be incredible performances that inspire more people to get involved in track and field," Siegel said.

Reynolds said the additional business, from guests instead of people making permanent changes to West Louisville, will be a win for the neighborhood. 

"They're going to get hotels, they're going to stop at our gas stations, they're going to stop at our stores, they're going to shop hopefully, and some of that will happen in the West End of Louisville," she said. 

"We did exactly what we promised, and I don't know where you live, but in this community, promises haven't always been kept," Reynolds added. 

For nearby West Louisville businesses, the meets and competitions already hosted at the complex have fueled their growth. 

"That brings a lot of customers right next door to where we are," Aaron Williams, owner of Chicago Jerk Taco, said. 

Williams started with a local food truck, before moving into a "ghost kitchen" space right across the street from the Sports & Learning Center. The restaurant is to-go only, which Williams said helps cut down costs.

They opened in late February, and Williams said weekend track competitions have already driven locals and visitors alike to place orders. 

"I believe... once someone gets the ball rolling things will start to pan out," he said.

Williams is a Shawnee graduate and said he chose Russell for his shop because he loves the neighborhood and believes in giving back to the community. 

“It’s a privilege to be able to serve an underserved community," he said. “At the end of the day I’m not just working, I’m giving back to the community.”

Louisville is one of 12 cities named by USA Track and Field to host championship competitions over the next three years.

These are the events planned at the center:

USATF National Masters Indoor Championship
March 10-12, 2023

USATF National Youth Indoor Championship
March 17-19, 2023

USATF National Youth Indoor Championship
March 8-10, 2024

The long-anticipated 24-acre Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning complex opened in Feb. 2021, nearly two years after the Louisville Urban League broke ground on a vacant lot in West Louisville.

In addition to the outside and indoor track and field, the center includes educational spaces, a media control room for sporting events, a rock climbing wall, a testing booth for athletes, and even a bowling alley. The indoor track and field can also turn into a concert venue.

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