BERLIN – Three local businessmen have announced their plans to open a multi-use outdoor sports complex between Ocean City and Salisbury later this summer.
Business partners Jay Phillips, John Barrett and Mitch Parker are joining forces to launch the Mid-Atlantic Youth Sportsplex (MAYS) at a former church property on Morris Road in Pittsville.
Since purchasing the 50-acre property early last year, the team has been quietly working to prepare the fields and buildings for game play this summer.
“We are waiting for the grass to green,” Phillips said.
Unlike other sports facilities in the area, Phillips said the property’s six full-size regulation fields are made of irrigated Bermuda grass situated on a sand-based drainage system, ensuring that the fields are never flooded.
“The benefit of having quality fields that are maintained and well drained and irrigated was important,” he said,
“and having it all in one place.”
Parker, whose son played travel lacrosse, said he joined the partnership after hearing of Phillips’ and Barrett’s idea to convert the property into tournament and league space, something he said was needed in the area.
“Usually there’s not a venue large enough for one event,” he said. “This makes sense.”
The timing of the Sportsplex couldn’t be more perfect, according to Phillips, who has been monitoring talks of the need for sports-related facilities in both Worcester and Wicomico counties.
“We’ve been building it as they’ve been reporting it,” he joked.
Located eight miles from Berlin and 11 miles from Salisbury, Barrett said MAYS will offer children and their parents nearby places to eat, sleep and play.
Barrett, whose kids are involved in sports, said he often travels to tournaments in the middle of nowhere and believes the complex will change the atmosphere surrounding youth sports.
“It should be a great draw for the community,” he said. “It should really turn out to be a nice facility to take care of a lot of need.”
In addition to a 7,500-square-foot climate-controlled clubhouse, registration and concierge buildings, vendors, locker storage and bath houses, the property also boasts hundreds of parking spaces, RV hookups, nearby trails, a two-acre fishing pond, shaded picnic area, and a handful of cabins, which can be used to host overnight sports camps.
“An all-natural, fun, festive atmosphere is what we cater to,” Phillips said. “There is nothing like it here.”
Phillips, a Realtor, said once he found that the property was available, he reached out to Barrett for suggestions, ultimately leading the three partners to acquire the land and form MAYS.
After their own market study found a favorable climate for an outdoor sports complex, Phillips said the group reached out to local governments and stakeholders for support.
Now in the finishing stages of the property’s first phase, the business partners are now hiring staff and event promoters for each of the emphasized sports – soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.
With room to grow, the owners said they hope to offer 10 full size fields in the future, with additional space that local club teams and tournament events can utilize.
“It’s a great property,” Barrett said.
Phillips said MAYS will be open and fully operational by mid-summer, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
“We’ve been quietly doing our thing,” Phillips said. “Now it’s time to put us on the radar.”