New Jersey Baseball Feature Story
Walt Disney said that if you can dream it, you can do it. The Voice that spoke to Ray Kinsella in the movie “Field of Dreams” said, “If you build it he will come.” And now, Ron Nametko of Manchester, New Jersey, says that both are right. Like Walt Disney and Ray Kinsella before him, Ron has a dream; and, with a little of the right Magic – Magic Sports, that is – he’s convinced it will become a reality before too long.
To be precise, Ron has a vision for Magic Sports Tournament and Health Complex, a multi-sport, tournament, training, instructional, multi-service sports and health center unlike any other. Magic Baseball, a travel team that got its start in 1999, started him thinking. But it was not until he saw Cooperstown Dreams Park (CDP) that the idea began to take shape.
Cooperstown Dreams Park
CDP gives youngsters nationwide a chance to play championship, travel baseball at the twelve year-old level. With over two dozen baseball fields and more than 100 bunk houses, CDP accommodates teams and players from around the country and the world in week-long tournaments every summer. Nestled in the pastoral setting of upstate New York, in the shadow of greatness defined by Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame just eight miles to the north, CDP provides the perfect setting for youth baseball.
Enter Ron Nametko, architect of big dreams. When he saw how another man’s dream came to fruition for youth league baseball tournaments, one of the first questions that came to Ron’s mind was why stop at baseball? And, if other sports receive equal focus and attention, why not place them along a popularly traveled thoroughfare so as to attract the maximum number of participants, spectators, and fans? If all that sounds like a good idea, it’s because Ron Nametko has dreamed it.
The twin towns of Mays Landing and Millville in south Jersey might not signal much to the average reader of New Jersey Baseball Magazine, but to Ron Nametko they are places where dreams can come true. Located in Atlantic County and Cumberland County respectively, they provide a total of 346 acres of land where the sports tournament, hospitality, and entertainment industries may come together. It’s no coincidence that the entire area lies along the highly attractive, heavily trafficked recreation corridor extending in three directions from New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. to Atlantic City.
In replicating CDP’s tournament experience for athletes of all ages in a variety of sports, Magic Sports will go far beyond the concept of a sports complex.
In addition to having outdoor fields for baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, and lacrosse, architectural plans call for indoor basketball and tennis courts, indoor and outdoor running tracks, an indoor, 50 thousand square-foot water park, urgent care medical facilities, a 480-room condo hotel, an indoor/outdoor shopping mall, and bunk houses for up to 120 teams in Phase I of construction. As though that were not enough, plans also call for specially designed fields and courts for physically challenged athletes, and self-contained television and radio production studios. In addition, a professional size baseball field will have major league dimensions and 14 Executive Boxes. As Nametko tells it, “Magic Sports will be the largest facility of its kind in the country.” And New Jersey Baseball Magazine would add, in the world as well.
Five areas of focus will define Magic Sports: baseball, women’s sports, specialized populations, community memberships, and education. The complex will offer as many as 16 baseball fields at the 50-70 foot level, 4 fields at the 60-90 foot level, 12 softball fields, and 4 soccer fields, also in Phase I of construction. Women’s sports will share center stage with men’s sports, and specialized, physically challenged athletes will have their own range of competitions and tournament play.
Of these, community memberships and education form the essential ingredients of the finished complex. As Ron explains, “Magic Sports will be a community-based, member-driven facility, with an emphasis on all sports and having an educational purpose.” Six thousand square feet of classroom space will allow families to enroll their children in courses covering everything from fundamentals of sports competition to team and individual sportsmanship. “Magic Sports is the first facility of its kind to have that instructional focus.”
To be sure, the huge sports, health, recreation, and entertainment complex that Magic Sports represents amounts to as costly an endeavor as you can imagine. An entrepreneur for the ages, though, Ron remains confident that he and his team of like-minded business professionals will secure the financing needed to proceed with the project.
Orlando, Florida’s Disney World
With all the necessary agreements already in place, the townships of Mays Landing and Millville have demonstrated support for what will easily become the most massive undertaking on the eastern seaboard since Disney World. Located in close proximity to Atlantic City, however, travel to-and-from Magic Sports will not present the same transportation challenges facing vacationers to its point-of-destination rivals in upstate New York and in central Florida.
In addition to acquiring the necessary financing, Nametko envisions a five-step process that will enable the project to unfold as planned. Phase I, mentioned earlier, will encompass the construction of the outdoor fields, to be located in Millville. The Millville site will comprise the majority of team bunk houses, along with various support and hospitality services including registration, security, medical services, laundromat/dry cleaning, game room, and a common area, among others. Magic Sports also has a separate purchase agreement for 700 additional acres for installation of more fields.
Phases II and III will focus on the Mays Landing site, which will contain a 480 room condo-hotel in addition to the fields that are earmarked for construction there. Phase IV will see the addition of the aforementioned fields and 120 additional bunk houses at Millville, and Phase V will feature the possible construction of an additional condo-hotel for the Millville site.
With apologies to The Voice, if Ron Nametko builds it, the people, players, and teams will come from throughout the world.
New Jersey Baseball Magazine wishes Ron and his team of visionary entrepreneurs the best of luck in pursuing the dream of Magic Sports and looks forward to reporting on future developments as they unfold.