The assistant secretary of U.S. Air Force Installations, a flyover by F-15E Strike Eagles and the dedication of a retired F-4E Phantom are planned during the grand opening celebration of the Bryan Multi-Sports Complex Monday.
The 10 a.m. event, which is open to the public, will celebrate the completion of the 62-acre complex, at 501 S. Oak Forest Road, resulting from a partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Goldsboro officials.
"The city has been working towards this day for so long, and it wouldn't have been possible without the help of persistent efforts of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the U.S. Air Force and generous sponsors, such as the Bryan Foundation," said Randy Guthrie, Goldsboro assistant city manager.
The site, which opened to the public in March, has eight multisports fields, including two with artificial turf, a concessions stand, restrooms, paved parking lot and a recently installed F-4E Phantom.
The Phantom was assigned and remained a part of the 334th Eagles Fighter Squadron, from 1977 to 1990, said Ashlin Glatthar, Goldsboro-Wayne County director of travel and tourism.
"This aircraft was the last operational F-4E to serve at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base," Glatthar said. "From the moment people turn into the complex's main entrance and are greeted by an F-4E, we hope they are impressed by how well the complex characterizes Goldsboro's history and legacy."
In the near future, the athletic complex will add other features, including a playground, covered picnic shelters and a splash pad. The R.A. Bryan Foundation secured naming rights of the complex for the next 15 years, following a $300,000 donation to the city, which will primarily pay for the addition of the splash pad.
"We wanted to make sure the complex caters to the multi-faceted needs of the community and visitors," said Scott Barnard, Goldsboro parks and recreation director.
"The playground, splash pad, covered picnic shelter and walking trails will make the complex a park and inviting for the public to enjoy."
The grand opening ceremony will include a ribbon cutting, guest speakers, musical performances, a dedication of the F-4E Phantom and a two-ship flyover by F-15E Strike Eagles.
John Henderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy will be present during the ceremony, along with base officials and community leaders.
The long-awaited completion of the complex was made possible through efforts between the base and city to share resources to reach common goals, Guthrie said.
"It's a prime example of how positive collaboration between the Air Force and neighboring communities can strengthen the quality of life throughout the region," Guthrie said.
The anticipated opening of the complex has been a boost for local tourism, with the possibility of seeing Air Force fighter jets fly over, as part of daily routines, exercises and missions.
"To have a dedicated space where civilian athletes can regularly compete and practice under the contrails of our nation's heroes has been an appeal factor for tournament directors looking for venues," Glatthar said.
Based on event bookings and the interest of several field sport organizations, the complex is expected to have a $2.7 million impact on the local economy within its first operating year, Glatthar said.
Just five days after Monday's celebration, the city of Goldsboro and the Wayne County United Soccer Club will cohost the N.C. Youth Soccer Association Kepner President's State Cup, April 28-29.
"We see this as a great opportunity for growth in our community," said Gabby Blalock, secretary of the Wayne County United Soccer Club.
"It builds upon our mission to provide ample opportunities for youth soccer teams in our area to develop character, responsibility, good sportsmanship, teamwork, health and physical fitness, as well as, encourage athletic development and competitive play for the youth of our community."
The two-day tournament is expected to draw 64 teams and nearly 2,500 visitors from across the state.
"The N.C. Youth Soccer Association is very excited to have Wayne County United Soccer Club and the city of Goldsboro teaming up to host our Kepner President's State Cup," said Colby Morton, the NCYSA assistant director of the Classic/State Cup.
"Being one of the first events at the new Bryan Multi-Sports Complex on Seymour Johnson AFB, our teams get to experience a unique atmosphere while playing on pristine new fields.
"It's thrilling to think about possibly catching a glimpse of fighter jets in action, which is a special treat for our organization and teams."
Morton said the association, its members and visitors also look forward to visiting area attractions, including Goldsboro's newly revitalized downtown area.
"In addition to the new complex, the city of Goldsboro has rolled out the red carpet for our incoming teams, making this end of season event a memorable and exciting one for the players," Morton said.
The Bryan Multi-Sports Complex was constructed and paid for by the city, with a $3 million, low-interest loan from Wayne County government and a $3 million voter-approved bond.
The development was made possible following a 20-year lease agreement between the city and the U.S. Air Force, which allows the city to develop and maintain the site on base property.
In turn, city leaders agreed to provide the base with access and use of the site, along with the city paying for a 2,500-square-foot addition to the base's main fitness center.