Opening day set for NMB Park and Sports Complex

The North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex off of Robert Edge Parkway and Highway 31 is ready to open to the public on Saturday, March 1, despite minor setbacks from the winter storms.

"We got a little bit behind with the weather, but I have to give a lot of credit to our guys our parks division and all of our contractors and sub contractors to get us through that and get us caught back up that we will be open on time," Matt Gibbons, Superintendent of Sports Tourism for North Myrtle Beach said.

Contractors are working around the clock to put in finishing touches to the softball, soccer and lacrosse fields, playgrounds, walking trails, and even dog parks.

The complex already has more than 80 events scheduled for 2014- including the International Quidditch Association's 2014 World Cup. That's the group that runs real-life versions of the popular broom game seen in Harry Potter movies.

The City of Myrtle Beach is set to begin construction on its own sports complex starting Monday, February 24, but Gibbons said he's not concerned about potential competition to bring in events.

"What benefits us, benefits them and vice versa. So we're just trying to build the best facility we can and bring people to our city, and the facility they're building down there is going to be great as well, and it's a facility that we need," Gibbons said.

With the help of students from the new sports tourism program at Horry Georgetown Technical College, Gibbons said this is the perfect time to open.

"It's going to give the students a great opportunity here on the Grand Strand of the many different facilities and events that are capable through sports tourism," Gibbons said.

The complex has cost the city $15 million and is expected to have an $18 million economic impact on the city.