JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – With next year’s budget already approved in Johnson City, a group of city leaders is moving on to a new venture that will require them to travel to the other side of the planet.

The mayor of Johnson City, a commissioner, and the city manager will leave Saturday for a trip to China. They’ll meet with investors about building a sports complex in Johnson City.

Meg Stone is the director of East Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence for Sports Science and Coach Education. She is also the director of the Olympic training site on campus, that’s inside the Mini Dome.

Stone says space has since outgrown itself with not just Olympians but students who train and use the facility. That’s why ESTU is teaming up with Johnson City leaders to expand the program.

“This facility would give us the opportunity to work right from the very beginning — [that’s] grassroots of this project of developing athletes into the elite level and hopefully develop some Olympians in this area.”

Johnson City Mayor David Tomita is one of three city leaders going to China along with Meg Stone this weekend to pitch the new sports performance training center to a group of investors.

“We have right now an Olympic training site at ETSU. It’s a very small, very limited program. They bring in athletes to train from all around the world. This would expand that potential to bring athletes in just about every sport to Johnson City to train,” David Tomita said.

The Performance Center would be built on the site of the old National Guard Armory on West Market Street in Johnson City. The Mayor says he believes the center will bring a good return on investment.

“It would be a great boost to our economy, our retail economy. they would stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants and they would shop at our stores,” Tomita said.

Bottom line, Meg Stone says she is hopeful the project will be big for not just ETSU but the entire community.

Johnson City taxpayers will foot the bill for airfare for the three city representatives. Mayor David Tomita told us Chinese investors will cover the rest of the expenses for their trip.Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.