"A once in a generation project": Officials break ground on Scheels Sports Park
A ceremony was held Wednesday to kick off construction for a major sports complex that local officials say will be a game changer for the Springfield economy.
"This project will change how Springfield sees Springfield. it will change how other people see Springfield," said Ryan McCrady, CEO of the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance, which works on economic development in the area.
The Scheels Sports Park at Legacy Pointe, on the city's south side, is expected to open in 2025. It will feature indoor and outdoor playing surfaces for various sports, like baseball, softball, volleyball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, pickleball and possibly more. An indoor air-supported dome, expected to be one of the largest in the world, will host indoor sports.
It will be located behind the Scheels store on South MacArthur Boulevard, just north of I-72. It's expected to play host to teams from throughout the country.
“This complex will bring a lot of families, revenue and excitement to the city and the region,” Springfield Mayor Misty Buscher said. "This project will mean $25 million in direct spending annually in your city. It's going to mean 50,000 more hotel rooms that will need to be created. How great is that?"
The public-private development will receive a portion of the Springfield's hotel-motel tax and sales tax, currently to be capped at $45 million. Legacy Pointe Development is providing private financing. Sports Facilities Companies will manage the tournaments and facilities once the sports park opens.
"This is a sign we can achieve big things in our community when we work together," McCrady added. “We believe this once in a generation project will become the best youth sports destination in Illinois."
Major aspects of the complex include:
* A 190,000-square-foot indoor dome that can be configured at different times for basketball courts, volleyball courts, a soccer field, performance and turf training areas.
* Outdoor facilities will include lighted, multipurpose turf fields for baseball, softball, football and soccer fields.
* In addition to the tournaments that will be hosted at the sports park on the weekends, there are several local user groups that have already signed up to utilize the facilities including Springfield District 186, the Springfield Park District, Springfield Area Soccer Association (SASA) and The Hitting Center.
Sports Facilities Companies will manage the tournaments and facilities once the sports park opens.
"This sports park makes Springfield a destination in a new way, and my hope is that many of our new visitors will also enjoy our historical sites and arts opportunities while they’re here," said Mayor Buscher.