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The Arena rendering

The above rendering shows the southwest corner and side of The Arena, a multi-sport recreational facility that is planned.

SIOUX CITY -- Jeff Carlson, Mike Hesse and Dustin Cooper wanted young athletes to have many of the opportunities found in similar-sized communities.

The three men, who all played basketball at Sioux City colleges, began making plans to build a multi-sports complex that will be located in the city's former stockyards area.

The plan -- a $13 million project that will be next to the proposed Siouxland Expo Center -- is becoming a reality.

Called The Arena, the more than 80,000-square-foot youth sports complex will include courts for basketball and volleyball, batting cages, a turfed area, weight room, media room, classrooms, locker rooms as well as outdoor patio seating.

The main court -- designed for events and championship games -- will be able to seat up to 3,000 fans while having the capacity to hold events ranging from little league games to Division I college basketball games.

"We feel this is going to be a complete game-changer for Siouxland athletes," Carlson explained. "This puts us on the same playing field with other kids in the communities."

Indeed, he said The Arena will have a feel comparable to Council Bluffs' MidAmerican Center and Sioux Falls' Sanford Pentagon, despite being smaller than the latter.

Despite that, the venue will be able to serve local rec teams and youth tournaments for teams, locally and throughout the tri-state region.

"We want to make the dreams of kids in our community a reality," he said.

Located in the city's former stockyards, the venue will bring a new look to the area as will the new Siouxland Expo Center.

"This will be the first thing you see as you're driving into Sioux City," Carlson said. "We're incredibly pleased. The entrance to Sioux City will be epic."

"If you build it,  they will come." At least that's what happened in the movie "Field of Dreams." 

Perhaps this will be an Arena of dreams.

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