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Westfield primary winner shares Grand Park plans

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The winner of Westfield’s Republican mayoral primary said Wednesday he’s already talking to landowners about potential development around Grand Park Sports Complex.

Scott Willis defeated two challengers in Tuesday’s primary. There was no Democratic primary for the mayor of Westfield, so Willis’ win means he likely will succeed retiring mayor Andy Cook following November’s general election. That means Willis will inherit the job of paying off the $77 million the city still owes on Grand Park.

First opened in 2016, the 400-acre complex boasts 31 multipurpose fields and 26 baseball diamonds and has become a hub for youth sports tournaments. Willis, who currently serves on the city council, said Grand Park draws more than four million visitors a year from outside central Indiana but the lack of lodging and restaurants around the complex hinders Westfield’s ability to capture the dollars they spend.

“We rank fourth on the list of where those dollars are being spent. It’s Carmel one, Fishers is two and believe it or not, Kokomo is ahead of Westfield,” he said. “We’ve got to do better. And that kind of development, I think, would be a good starting point to change that direction.”

Willis said the city still has about 40 acres to work with around Grand Park. He said he would like to bring hotels, restaurants, and shops to the area to give visitors places to stay and things to do nearby. He said this would be part of a broader effort to diversify the city’s tax base.

“I’ve been working, actually, with a few of the big landowners here in Westfield. We’ve been talking about what it might look like and I think we’re close to having something lined up where we can start to move forward and bring something forward to the public to weigh in on,” he said.

Some landowners have also raised the possibility of building championship fields to draw NCAA or semi-pro events. Willis said he’s open to that as well, though he would prefer mixed-use development.

The Democratic and Libertarian parties have until July 3 to caucus for a candidate to challenge Willis in November. Independent candidates have until June 30 to get on the ballot.