By Emily Williams
Hoover residents and officials gathered at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex on June 14 for the grand opening of the Finley Center.
The ceremony marked the completion of phase 1 of The Met expansion, which city officials hope will bring an economic bump for the city and the state.
Mayor Frank Brocato said the center, the completion of which coincides with Hoover’s 50th anniversary celebration, represents the future of the city. He added that the complex has continued to draw tournaments, other sporting events, fundraisers and business gatherings.
Construction of the 151,147-square-foot center was finished in just more than a year, just in time for the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament, held May 23-28. It is named in honor of longtime W.A. Berry High School head coach Bob Finley, who died in 1994.
According to Brian Jones of the Alabama Tourism Department, the facility brings Hoover into the top 15 destinations in the country for youth sports.
An annual economic impact of $27 million to $33 million is expected to be generated by the facility, according to the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the facility will generate about 125 jobs.
“We’re excited about what that’s going to mean,” Brocato said. “We hope to see it bring people from all over the country and all over the Southeast, like we saw at the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament.”
The 89,000 square feet of continuous event space in the center is designed to accommodate a variety of events and includes an event lawn, meeting rooms, space for more than 300 trade show booths, banquet seating for 2,500 people and theater seating for 5,000 people.
In addition, the center houses a walking track, a Clip ‘n Climb wall-climbing attraction, 11 basketball courts and 17 volleyball courts.
Construction of the complex will continue with Phase II, which will include five baseball or softball fields; five fields that can be used for soccer, football or lacrosse; and 16 tennis courts. In addition, a playground and splash pad will be incorporated as well as 5,000 additional parking spots for visitors.