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Intelligencer Journal/New Era (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Tim Mekeel

Spooky Nook Sports is adding a hotel and restaurant within its sprawling East Hempfield Township facility.

But township officials believe the new amenities won't harm the complex's recently improved parking and traffic situations.

"This will be something to service (its) tournament participants," said Bob Krimmel, East Hempfield Township manager.

"There might be a few outsiders, but most of the customers will be people who are using (Spooky Nook) and their families," he said Monday.

News of the two extra features comes after the complex has added parking, tweaked event timing and taken other steps to lessen congestion.

"There was a learning curve," Krimmel said.

"It's not perfect, but it's much better," said John Bingham, a township supervisor.

The massive tie-ups of February - which caused traffic to back up onto Route 283 - have not recurred, township officials say.

Both the hotel and restaurant are slated to open in the spring.

The 130-room hotel will be independently branded.

The 260-seat restaurant will have an American cuisine theme and a family-friendly environment.

They will be open to Spooky Nook attendees and the public year-round.

The new hotel and restaurant, as yet unnamed, are no surprise.

Spooky Nook officials have been open about their desire to have them since the complex was in the planning stage.

But the announcement from Spooky Nook is the first public disclosure of their size and opening date.

In announcing the two additions, Spooky Nook did not estimate the cost of developing them or the number of jobs they would create.

A Spooky Nook spokesman was unable to provide more information on Monday.

However, Spooky Nook's building-permit application shows the combined project cost is $5 million, said the township's Andrew Stern.

The township has issued the permit, said Stern, the township's director of planning and development.

No land-development plan was required for the additions because the build-out will be done inside the facility's walls, Stern explained.

Ironically, when Spooky Nook sought township approval of its plans two years ago, it noted how its facility would generate extra business for area hotels and restaurants.

Now, however, Spooky Nook will be trying to keep some of that extra lodging and meal business for itself.

To lessen the parking and traffic woes, Spooky Nook took land earmarked for sports fields and built gravel parking lots.

These lots will be paved at some point, Stern said.

The exact number of extra spaces to be created remains to be determined, but it's at least 600, said Bingham.

That's not the only step Spooky Nook has taken.

Stern pointed to improved directions to satellite parking at Root's Country Market and elsewhere.

Krimmel cited staggered timing of events that spreads out the arrivals of athletes and their families.

Two further measures could be implemented in the future.

For motorists coming to Spooky Nook by traveling west on Route 283, Spooky Nook has offered to pay for construction of an 800-foot turning lane.

East Hempfield Township is applying to PennDOT for a highway occupancy permit that would allow this lane, also known as a "slip" lane.

PennDOT returned the application to the township on June 26, "with comments that need to be addressed," said PennDOT spokesman Greg Penny.

The cost of constructing the turning lane was not immediately available.

The second measure would be to use the parking lot of the nearby Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center.

Discussions between Spooky Nook and the training center, first reported in February, are ongoing, township officials said.

Craig Elmer, training center director, could not be reached for comment.

Initially, Spooky Nook was seeking to lease at least 500 parking spaces at the center.

Bingham observed that traffic issues in and around Spooky Nook will be an ongoing concern, beyond what steps the complex takes.

That's because other developers are considering two more hotels in the area - one on each side of Route 283, he said.

Spooky Nook, on Spooky Nook Road near Route 283, opened in June 2013 in a former Armstrong World Industries distribution center.

The $26 million complex has more than 700,000 square feet of space under roof, making it the largest indoor sports complex in North America.

Among its features are basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, field hockey fields, soccer fields, an indoor track, an indoor baseball infield, a fitness center, a climbing center and an arcade.


This Is An Artist's Rendering Of The Atrium Of A Hotel That Spooky Nook Sports Wants To Build.


July 8, 2014




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