43 Fields, iFly opening this summer
There is plenty to see and do this summer in eastern Baltimore County. To highlight all the great attractions that can be found in the county, the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce hosted Chesapeake Gateway’s Booming Tourism Industry: Something Big is Happening on Wednesday, May 18.
Businesses from around the area gathered to share the incredible fun that exists within 15 minutes from Essex and Middle River backyards. Highlighting the event were representatives from iFly Indoor Skydiving and the 43 Fields project, two highly anticipated attractions expected to open this summer in White Marsh.
“There is one thing that every person has dreamt of doing,” said Nicholas Romeo, national sales manager for iFly Indoor Skydiving, “and that’s flying.”
Expected to open in about 30 to 45 days, iFly will provide an interactive experience for ages 3 to 103, Romeo said.
“Anybody can do this,” he added.
According to Romeo, the iFly facility created 30 to 40 temporary jobs during the six to eight months of construction, and is expected to create about 55 permanent jobs once the facility is complete.
For $69.99 flyers will be provided with all the proper equipment; helmet, goggles, ear plugs and sneakers (if sneakers are not already being worn). While there there will only be two one-minute long flights in the 120 mph wind tunnel, the whole process of will take about an hour and a half to two hours to complete. Flyers will need to complete waivers and learn how to control themselves in the air with an instructor prior to their flight time.
While in the air, flyers can expect to fly anywhere from six to eight feet into the air, and as high as about 20 feet, Romeo said.
While some may think the cost is high compared to the amount of flight time being offered, it is still more affordable than skydiving out of plane, Romeo said.
According to Romeo, for someone to go skydiving, they first need to pay $200 for the airplane. Then, when you jump from the plane, the average adult is only in a free fall for about 46 to 48 seconds.
People are expected to travel from as far as 100 miles away to try out iFly, Romeo said. The indoor skydiving facility offers a great environment for team building exercises for corporate events, as well as offers a STEM program for students.
According to Romeo, iFly offers a physics program designed for students in second grade through high school. Students can see objects fly in the wind tunnel and figure out how they are able to fly. After which, the students will take to the wind tunnel themselves.
Once it is officially open, iFly Indoor Skydiving will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Reservations are highly recommended. It is located at 8125 Honeygo Blvd. at the Avenue at White Marsh. 43 Fields “We want more kids to play more sports, longer,” said Athan Sunderland, executive vice president of Pinkard Properties.
Pinkard Properties is the developer behind what is being called the 43 Fields Project at White Marsh. Located on Route 43 across from Tangier Drive, 43 Fields will feature six artificial turf sporting fields, one practice field and an indoor ice rink.
According to Sunderland, participation is strongly encouraged, as is keeping families together. That is why there will always be on field open at all times for kids to play on.
The first field is expected to be completed in August. The remaining fields are expected to be completed by spring 2017, and the ice rink by winter 2017.
Once complete, 43 Fields is expected to bring in 3,500 local families every week, Sunderland said.
The facility will also be hosting 70 event days per year which will bring in 300,000 visitors from more than 60 minutes away to the area.
“We were asked, ‘ Why [build in] White Marsh?’” Sunderland said. “Because its already here.”
According to Sunderland, the White Marsh area already has the needed infrastructure to bring in the needed 300,000-plus visitors a year. Along with the dining establishments, retail stores and hotels as well.
43 Fields can be the No. 1 destination in the MidAtlantic, Sunderland said, and the No. 1 destination for youth sports in the country.