CCAC Looks To Close Deal On Donnelley Property

A view of the sign outside the City County Athletic Complex in Warsaw. Photo by Gary Nieter.

For more than two decades, the City County Athletic Complex has brought millions of visitor dollars to the local community.
Now, the CCAC is looking for just $61,000 to have enough money to buy the 65 acres from RR Donnelley it’s used since it started. It also has a limited amount of time to do it, according to Executive Director Karl Swihart.
“We’ve talked to Donnelley for about the last three years to try to purchase the property. Several reasons. We didn’t know if Donnelley were to ever sell what would happen to us. And here recently they changed their name, so that kind of even wants us to really expediate things. … Probably about a year ago, they’ve agreed to go ahead and sell it to us. They’ve given us a very good price on the property, and we started doing the fundraising,” Swihart said Monday.
He said they talked to three organizations about helping with the fundraising. Two of them, K21 Health Foundation and Kosciusko County Visitors Bureau Commission, came through, he said. The third, Parkview Hospital, has CCAC officials on hold.
“We’re $61,000 short of purchasing the property. It’s real close, but it’s still a lot of money. Donnelley has indicated that they’d like to close this first quarter of 2017, so we’re kind of in a time crunch. Everything did look good up until a couple weeks ago when we had some communications with Parkview. I’ve got a meeting to call him March 9 to find out what’s going on, so we’re kind of scrambling to find other ways to raise $61,000 so we can make this happen,” Swihart stated.
“The importance of it is one, to secure the property so this place can last forever. It also helps us when we’re trying to get grants for improvements and equipment to own the property versus leasing it. So as soon as we can raise the other $61,000, we’re ready to purchase it.”
The city and the county, through the CVB, give the CCAC annual contributions for general operating expenses, he said. The CVB Commission did give the CCAC another $100,000 toward the purchase of the property.
To raise the remaining $61,000, Swihart said they’re applying for grants and have reached out to foundations such as the Dr. Dane and Mary Louise Miller Foundation.
CCAC is open year-round, offering winter programs, but summer is its busiest season. Programs include year-round adult and youth soccer; youth basketball; corn hole; youth sports camps; adult softball; and on weekends there’s travel softball and baseball tournaments.
He said they plan to start a volleyball program this spring.
He said the tournaments “provide a tremendous impact to the community.”
The CCAC activities bring in about $1 million a year – “probably more than that” – to the city and county, he estimated.
“Just in our weekend tournaments, we have about 32,000 spectators and participants in those weekend events. Overall, probably about 250,000 visitors throughout a year,” Swihart said. “And the majority of those weekend visitors stay in the hotels and eat in the restaurants, so that’s where our economic impact really makes the difference.”
The CCAC brings in some events that are bigger than the normal weekend activities. Swihart said the girls fast-pitch state tournament brings in about 70 teams; the baseball super state tournament brings in about 86 teams; baseball Midwest championships, about 96 teams; baseball world series, around 70 teams; and the adult state baseball world series, about 40 teams.
“And that’s in addition to our other tournaments that we run on weekends, which those are anywhere from 40 to 60 teams,” he said.
Teams come from all over Indiana, as well as Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and as far away as Canada. Local teams and organizations also make use of the facility – Grace College, Kosciusko County Soccer League, Warsaw Travel Soccer League, Kosciusko County Church softball leagues, pickleball and the high school.
“We’re the biggest (sporting) facility in northern Indiana,” Swihart said.
The CCAC began activities in 1994. The first phase of the CCAC was four ball diamonds, with four more being added in the second phase.
“So we’ve got eight lighted ball diamonds, 11 soccer fields, two sand volleyball courts, an indoor facility,” Swihart said. The indoor facility is 60 feet by 80 feet, which was hosting pickleball Monday.
Despite the hundreds of thousands of visitors the CCAC brings in every year to Kosciusko, Swihart said the private non-profit itself doesn’t make a lot of money.
“We get $71,000 a year, that’s the donations between the city and the county CVB. The rest of that we get on our own. That’s from advertising signs, sponsorships, entry fees, stuff like that. The busier we are, the more we make, but we’re almost at capacity on our weekend tournaments,” Swihart said.
A majority of the money the CCAC makes goes back into the tournaments and other activities, as well as pay for staffing and upkeep. There are six full-time staff members; with 20 part-timers hired in the summer, the majority being for concessions. Sports officials add another 20 people.
“The upkeep on the facility is quite a bit of our budget. That and staffing,” Swihart said.
New programs being planned include a crochet instructional class, kickball and dodgeball.
“We’re always looking to start new programs,” Swihart said.
To help the CCAC, Swihart said, “There’s all types of involvement – advertising, sponsoring, in-kind donations, anything we can do now just to raise money to purchase the property.”
To make a donation or learn more, email Swihart at or call 574-269-6663.
Without the CCAC, he said, “It would not only affect the residents of the area for the activities, but also the businesses in the area because of the economic boost it provides. We’re talking 32,000 travel visitors that come in all year round on weekends – that’s a big push for the hotels, restaurants, shopping, fuel, everything.”