SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — The Moyer Complex, a staple of Salem and home to a number of softball championships for the last three decades, is getting a facelift as the city plans to spend $27.5 million to renovate the facility.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday to celebrate the start of a project that is expected to take a year to finish. The renovations will not only improve the the experience for fans and athletes of softball by installing new lighting and expanding parking options, but it will also add a new skate park as well as pickleball courts.

City officials say the benefits are immeasurable and builds on Salem’s brand as “Virginia’s Championship City”.

“We had a really really good complex. People loved coming here because of the people and because of the facility but it’s going to be even better. When this facility opened years ago, it was world class, it was ahead of its time. We’re replicating it, we’re going to be ahead of everyone else again,” Salem Director of Tourism Carey Harveycutter said. “Sometimes you got to have that new bell or whistle to get the interest. Once people come to Salem, they come back. We’ve proven that time and time again with USA softball, with NCAA, with all of the tournaments that have taken place in this complex.”

The facility averages 26 weekend tournaments a year, including the VHSL state championships and the NCAA Division II and III softball national championships.

Over the years, Moyer has shown its wear and that meant it was time to tear down and start fresh (with the exception of the center tower, which will remain standing but receive minor improvements).

Salem Parks and Recreation director John Shaner says the renovations will make the complex much more than a softball destination.

“We had to stay competitive with all these new facilities that are going up all across the country and now Moyer will be one of the top facilities on the East Coast,” Shaner said. “And the Moyer Sports Complex when you go over the Railway Track, it’s going to have the ‘wow’ factor that everything is new from that point on and make people want to come back. The biggest thing we’re doing this is that it’s not a one and only. We want people to come and then two weeks later they’re back here playing in another tournament, staying in our hotels, eating at Mac and Bobs and different restaurants and spending that money.”

The plan is for the newly renovated Moyer Complex to start hosting events in February 2024.