In one week, Fallon’s newest toy will be open for business.
The Gym at Venturacci Park, a 12,500-square foot facility on Venturacci Lane will be christened and host the first annual Cinco de Mayo 3-on-3 basketball tournament on Friday.
Before tip-off, however, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at the gym.
Check-in for the tournament begins at 5:30 p.m. at the gym and games run through Saturday. Registration for the tournament runs through Wednesday and the cost is $75 per team. Five players are allowed per team for the adult tournament.
In addition, the Warrior Fitness Center at Naval Air Station Fallon will also host games.
The Fallon Chamber of Commerce, city of Fallon, city of Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority, Churchill County Parks and Recreation Department and NAS Fallon organized the tournament.
Civilians will be allowed to play on base, although fitness center manager Val Pyle said background checks must be performed. Civilian spectators, though, will not be allowed on base.
The tournament is broken into competitive and recreation divisions, according to Natalie Parrish, executive director of the chamber. First place for the competitive division wins $150, $75 for second and $25 for the recreation champs.
“Fallon needs to see some new events,” Parrish said. “The new facility will be great for the community.”
Pyle, meanwhile, said the tournament is another way for the base and community to come together. The Warrior Fitness Center, a $10 million facility that opened last summer, will host games and the base will allow access to civilian teams.
Pyle said team members must complete a registration form and be willing to pay to play on the base. In addition, athletes are required to submit their date of birth and drivers license number for a background check.
“A lot of people want to get on base and see the gymnasium,” Pyle said. “We are seeing how it goes this year and hopefully we get some that say yes. We hope it (the event) gets bigger and bigger.”
Rick Gray, executive director of the FCTA said numerous possibilities have been discussed as how to use the gym. Obviously, sporting events such as the basketball tournament are the primary function, but Gray said other options may be available like guest speakers and conventions to name a few.
He said the FCTA can use the facility as a tool to attract out-of-town youth sports tournaments, which would draw visitors to hotels and local businesses.
“It could be a vehicle to generate out-of-town teams,” he added. “We are starting slow … learn our lessons and see how the tournament develops. It should be a great tool for our tourism arsenal.”
The gym contains two basketball practice courts, one premier court in addition to three practice volleyball courts and one premier court. The wood is covered with high-quality oil-based sealant and the center also features bathrooms, a lobby, a concession stand, mezzanine level and scoreboard.
The glass basketball backboards and bleachers were transplanted from Churchill County High School after the Elmo Dericco Gym was renovated last summer.