'Staple of York': Inch and Co. moves forward with Spooky Nook-style sports complex

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Developer Inch & Co. is moving forward with plans to transform the long-vacant Central York High School athletic field into a Spooky Nook-style sports complex.

"It has been sitting vacant and deteriorating for years," CEO Jeff Inch said. "What better to resurrect this thing and put it right in the heart of York County — and make it basically a staple of York."

Most recently, the state Department of Environmental Protection issued Inch & Co. its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which is a necessary step toward starting construction, Inch said.

Envisioning an athletic complex in York County similar to Lancaster County's Spooky Nook Sports has been a dream two years in the making. Inch, who has frequently traveled to Spooky Nook for his children's athletic competitions, said he was inspired by the concept and wanted to bring something comparable to York.

Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

Though Inch said he projects a 2024 opening for the 250,000-square-foot sports complex in North York, there's still work to do.

A digital rendering of the proposed athletic facility at the site of the former Central York High School athletic field in North York borough. Courtesy of Inch and Co

"We got that almost 2½ months ahead of schedule," he said of the permit. "We could break ground pretty much any day now, but there's obviously some other things that need to happen."

Ahead of construction, Inch & Co. plans to schedule final land approvals in June and submit building plans to North York in late summer.

In the meantime, the growing area builder is continuing to secure investors in the project, with about $12 million in funding still needed. Inch did confirm that a health care provider and bank are involved in the project, though he did not say by name which ones are locked in.

At a planning meeting in January, Inch said the complex would have 500 parking spaces, a 15,000-square-foot gym facility, turf fields for a dozen sports and a wellness facility.

The former Central York High School athletic field in North York borough, Thursday, April 27, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

A website showcasing the anticipated sports complex is now available at https://www.inchsports.com/.

Because the sports facility would be easily accessible from several municipalities, the cost of admission or membership is on the minds of many residents. During January's meeting, some North York residents worried the facility would be unaffordable for low-income households.

MORE:Bar flies and a repeat violation at one area restaurant: Inspections

MORE:Central York tried to intimidate book ban protesters, students say. They won't back down.

More:Central York's kids are alright. The administrators? Not so much

Inch said he did not have a price structure solidified yet.

The former Central York School District property languished for years without any movement toward redevelopment, despite previous attempts by others. That includes local restaurant owner Themistoklis Sacarellos, whose proposal to turn the space into a warehouse was rejected by the North York Borough Council in 2021.

"It's really a multi-purpose facility that I think could really reach a lot of people in a positive way quickly," Inch said. "The heart and soul of this thing is really just being an outreach for the community."