The Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners received an update regarding the Reclaiming First initiative, in particular the ongoing construction at the Sportscore Two campus, 8800 E Riverside Blvd, Loves Park, which includes expanding the Indoor Sports Center (ISC). Currently, modernization of Sportscore Two is taking place adding five synthetic turf and multi-purpose lighted fields. Play on the five synthetic fields is planned for spring 2016. Construction is also underway for the expansion of the parking lot located to the north of the ISC which will add 424 stalls when completed.
About the Mega Sports Center Expansion Project
The Mega Sports Center (MSC) Project is a major addition to the existing Indoor Sports Center facility. The project involves the addition of a large enclosed soccer field, connector building at the main entrance, renovation of the existing Indoor Sports Center, and the reconfiguration of site access. The Mega Sports Center expansion will include a 424’ long by 294’ wide steel building situated to the east of the existing ISC. The indoor playing field is a synthetic turf field with paved spectator areas on either side of the field. A combination of dasher boards and netting will protect the major spectator area from action on the field. A series of large curtains running across the long and short centerlines of the building can be used to further subdivide the space into four activity areas.
The connector building will provide a transition between the different floor elevations of ISC and MSC, as well as a prominent identifiable entrance. The connector building will include a main lobby area, convenient concession services, and restrooms. Renovations to the current ISC building include upgrades to the existing dasher boards in the west section, tread replacement to existing mezzanine stairs, and replacing the floor area in the east portion with new synthetic turf. The parking lot will also be resurfaced, and the entrances reconfigured to improve traffic flow. When the parking lot is under construction, guests will be directed to utilize the newly expanded northern parking lot.
The project cannot be bid until the District learns the status of the $2.5 million Parks and Recreational Facility Construction (PARC) grant. The Park District has been very successful in receiving grant awards in the past, especially through local and state sources. Grant funds from a variety of sources assist the District by enabling it to leverage taxpayer investment for the benefit of citizens. “We are continuing to work with our state legislators and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to release these funds. The Mega Sports Center will stimulate our regional economy, and provide a world-class recreational facility to our citizens. This project isn’t an expense, this is an investment in the city and the state's future," said Executive Director Tim Dimke.
At this evening’s meeting, the Board was able to ask questions of representatives from the design team, McClure Engineering Associates, Inc., Larson and Darby Group, Sanders Design Group, and Hinshaw Consulting. Construction on the Mega Sports Center construction is anticipated take 15-18 months.
About Reclaiming First
Reclaiming First is a community-wide comprehensive plan to enhance and enlarge the sports facilities in the Rockford area to reclaim the region’s dominance in sports tourism. The plan will retain, regain, and grow sports tourism in an increasingly competitive market vying for sports tourism dollars, and provide world class amateur sports tournament facilities for Rockford area residents. Amateur sports tourism at Sportscore One and Sportscore Two currently accounts for $15.25 million in income for the Rockford region that would otherwise not occur. Local municipalities receive an estimated $1.8 million in the form of direct additional general fund tax revenue from amateur sports tournaments. Further, income generated from amateur sports tournaments means local citizens are able to use these facilities at reduced or no cost.
The Winnebago County Regional Tourism Facility Board formed to administer the hotel tax includes board/council members and chief elected officials and staff leaders from the Rockford Park District, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, City of Rockford, City of Loves Park, Village of Machesney Park, City of South Beloit, Village of Rockton, Village of Roscoe, Village of Cherry Valley, and Winnebago County. For additional information on Reclaiming First, see www.reclaimingfirst.org.