Popular Dayton sports complex makes a comeback following tornado

A popular Dayton outdoor and indoor sports complex destroyed by a Memorial Day tornado has plans to rebuild the multi-million dollar facility.

Action Sports Center, the popular baseball and softball outdoor complex, will rebuild its indoor building off Findlay Street that was deemed a total loss following damage from the tornado.

The scraps from the former building, which can be seen along Ohio 4, were recently torn down.

Owner Kyle Coby called the damage “complete devastation” when the EF4 tornado, which ripped through Trotwood, North Dayton and Riverside, hit the baseball park at 1103 Gateway Drive.

The baseball fields were wrecked, light posts were snapped and fences were ripped down, but all eight baseball diamonds have since reopened and hosted tournaments during the summer and fall baseball seasons. In total, the complex reported $2.3 million in tornado damages. Owners are working on a FEMA loan now for additional funding for the rebuilding plans.

“We are 100 percent rebuilding like we said we were,” Coby said. “Everything from the ground up, it will be completely different. Our old building used to really serve as everything — the offices, bathrooms, concessions and then it had an indoor soccer and a basketball gym.”

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The current plan for redevelopment — totally at least $2 million for the entire complex — will consist of two different buildings. The first will have concessions, bathrooms and offices and the second will be strictly for sporting “more like an air-dome type” structure with full-size fields, Coby said.

The potential new dome-style building that can serve for football, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, baseball and softball is expected to be ready in the late 2020 to early 2021.

“If their plans, vision, dreams materialize, the facility could be certainly unique in the Miami Valley in terms of what it could offer for the baseball community,” said Joe Parlette, deputy city manager for Dayton.

Each year Action Sports hosts 20 to 25 baseball tournaments along with multiple baseball leagues, according to its website.

On any given weekend between March and October, a tournament could host 50 to 100 baseball teams. More than 1,000 players could be on the property each weekend during the peak season competing in multiple events, according to a Go Fund Me page the business started a few days after the tornado.

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Those tournaments can have a substantial economic impact on the community as families from out of town spend their dollars in the Dayton community, Parlette said.

“I’m a sports parent. I follow my daughter all over the Midwest and various parts of the country every summer, and I know how much I spend at hotels and restaurants and things of that nature when we go out of town for tournaments so that’s a very real impact to businesses in the Miami Valley,” Parlette said.

Action Sports is unique from other tournament venues because the land is owned by the city and Dayton acts as a landlord of sorts. Because of that relationship, the city and residents have opportunities to use the center at low or no cost. The city started a World Soccer Tournament several years ago for kids of all ages and adults that represent different countries in a “friendly recreational” soccer tournament, which is held at Action Sports Center, Parlette said.

“That’s always worked into these agreements to make sure there’s a very tangible benefit to the community,” he said.

The facility has also hosted other non-sport events like the Dayton Kennel Club’s Puppy Match show and a 2015 tryout to become an actor in the Last at Bat movie.

“They’re really energizing baseball in the Dayton community. They continue to make great improvements on the facility. They continue to host tournaments that bring in teams, quite frankly, from all over the Midwest and beyond,” said Bob Seymour, director of operations and recruiting for the Gem City Throwbacks. “They’re really helping put Dayton on the baseball map so-to-speak as far as youth baseball goes.”


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