Zoning approved for new Irmo sports site

By Al Dozier

Several volleyball lovers showed up at the Feb. 20 Irmo Council meeting to voice strong support for a zoning approval that will clear the way for a new sports venue in Irmo that could be the site of regional tournaments.

Providing a large sports site for volleyball games is of “tremendous importance” for the Irmo-Chapin area because of the limited locations that are now available, supporters said. The site would also host basketball games.

The ordinance on the council agenda called for rezoning 67 acres located near 1424 Shady Grove Road in Irmo from Neighborhood Commercial to General Commercial, which would clear the way for the new sports facility. The council unanimously gave first reading approval of the ordinance.

An official with USC volleyball sports noted that area teams often have to rely on church gyms to hold tournaments. A new site in Irmo would finally establish a venue.

Sue Dillon, director of the Lake Murray Volleyball Club, announced her support of the project during the meeting.

Some supporters pointed out the importance of volleyball to their children, who love the sport.

However, a final plan for the site will have to go through reviews and compliance regulations, according to Town Administrator Courtney Dennis. He said it’s a long way from completion.

During the discussion of the ordinance, Councilman Erik Sickinger noted that the council’s vote is simply to approve the zoning change and does not represent an endorsement of all of the sports plans for the site.

The development will be undertaken by the sports organization, SC Kings.

According to early announcements, the sports center would include a fitness center, climbing course, after-school tutoring area, eight basketball courts and 16 volleyball courts. The site could also include restaurants and a hotel.

Proponents project it to bring $51 million in spending to the area in the first five years.