HomeHillsborough BeaconHillsborough NewsOfficials and local residents launch construction of Apex Sports and Events Complex

Officials and local residents launch construction of Apex Sports and Events Complex

With shovels in hand and donning hard hats, Hillsborough resident Gregg Wilke stood with his wife and children to officially break ground and launch the construction of the new Apex Sports and Events Complex at a public ceremony last Thursday.

Described earlier this year as a “multi-sport athletic facility designed to serve participants in sports leagues, skill-building clinics/camps, and competition as well as sports performance training, pay-to-play recreation experiences, and youth development activities,” work on the 210,000 square-foot sports facility will begin on a property next to Mountain View Park.

Wilke — who also owns Premiere Dance Studio and HRC Fitness — said planning for the facility was a five-year journey.

“As a longtime Hillsborough resident, Jen [my wife] and I envision a facility that is an integral part of the Hillsborough community — where residents are provided assistance in the development of our young athletes, where healthy lifestyles are encouraged for all individuals and families regardless of age or ability, where welcoming social experiences are created for youth, adult and family participation and where a positive impact can be made on the local economy,” Wilke said.

According to previously approved plans, the facility will have outdoor synthetic turf fields that can be used for training, practices, games, tournaments and events for sports such as football, soccer and lacrosse.

The indoor complex will feature a wooden court available for basketball and volleyball, a “youth and adult adventure area” will include a rock climbing wall and a “Ninja Warrior” obstacle course based on the popular television show “American Ninja Warrior.” Other elements for various sports and all ages, regardless of athletic ability and experience, will be offered at the new complex as well, Wilke said.

Currently, officials said the goal is to have the facility’s two outdoor turf fields completed for next fall’s football and soccer programs, and the indoor structure operating by Oct. 2019.

While Wilke admits this is an “aggressive timeline,” he and his team plan to soon remove trees in the construction area and have the facility foundation completed by the end of the year, with steel “going up in January.”

Once completed, Wilke said he and his family hopes the facility can be a “beacon of strength” for those in Somerset County.

“In this age of what seems like endless negativity in the news, we want Apex to be a safe haven for our youth and families,” he said.

Mayor Gloria McCauley said she was optimistic about the new facility, stating that the township was “ready for an asset like APEX Sports and Events.”

Officials said the township worked with Apex to ensure the facility would be available to the community and the township’s youth first. One of the contemporary outdoor turf fields will provide 400 hours of reserved prime time for the Hillsborough Township Parks and Recreation Department.

Additionally, Hillsborough-based 501(c)3 organizations will be able to rent playing time at 50 percent of typical rental rates on this field.

According to the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Apex largely became a reality through a property swap, which enabled the construction of the facility in exchange for 19.5 acres of land Wilkes owns on Hillsborough Road. That will become part of Somerset County’s farmland preservation program.

Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione and Freeholder Mark Caliguire expressed their enthusiasm about the future facility, thanking local leaders, like Wilke, who are able to “transform” Mountain View Park land into something positive for the county.

“I’d like to thank everybody who came here, who recognizes that vision and taking this old, dilapidated GSA [owned] site into something we can all be proud of and we can all add to our community,” Scaglione said.

The Maintain View Park sits on a 369-acre piece of property that was once part of the former GSA Belle Mead Depot. The property was jointly purchased by the township and Somerset County.

“This is what can happen when government and private enterprise work together for the common good; we’re very excited about this,” Caliguire said.

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