With a major financial hurdle being cleared two weeks ago with the creation of the new South Central Business District, the developers of the Scheels Sports Park are at long last ready to break ground Wednesday on the facility at Legacy Pointe.
The 95-acre complex off MacArthur Boulevard near Interstate 72 is designed to attract traveling athletic teams for weekend tournaments, though athletic teams from Springfield District 186 also will use facilities for practices and games.
The indoor/outdoor facility is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2025.
Here's more about what to expect:
Steve Luker and Dirk McCormick of Legacy Pointe Development are privately financing the sports complex.
The sports complex will include synthetic turf multi-purpose fields that can be configured into 14 baseball and softball fields or eight full-size soccer, football, and lacrosse fields.
A 160,000-square-foot indoor dome, considered to be the largest air-supported structure in the world, will house year-round sports, including six basketball courts that can be converted into 12 volleyball courts or 16 pickleball courts, and one of the multi-purpose turf fields.
The indoor and outdoor facilities will be built at one time, instead of a once-proposed "phased development."
There also will be more than 25,000 square feet of buildings for support and administration.
Springfield Clinic will have a presence at the complex as its exclusive health and performance partner.
The overall cost is projected to be between $65 and $70 million. The city of Springfield's assistance is coming through a hotel-motel tax incentive, with 2% of the 8% citywide hotel-motel tax being allocated for the complex. There are sales tax and property tax rebates also helping out. The city's development assistance cap is $45 million.
What's in a name
Scheels, the sporting goods giant that has operated its Legacy Pointe store since 2011, earned naming rights for the complex in 2021. The complex will be north of the store.
Who's using the facilities?
The complex is expected to host 60- to 100-team tournaments for youth traveling teams on weekends.
Springfield District 186 will get a "preferred rate" on the use of fields and courts for practices and games at the complex. School officials projected that cost to be $108,000 for 2,160 hours of use annually. The facilities are much needed especially for middle and high school baseball and softball, Superintendent Jennifer Gill said.
Clearwater, Florida-based Sports Facilities Management will manage the complex.
What's the economic impact?
Local tourism officials have estimated the complex will bring 250,000 new visitors to the city along with about $30 million in new spending annually.
According to the National Association of Sports Commissions, sports tourism is an approximately $11.4 billion industry.
The new South Central Business District, approved by the Springfield City Council earlier this month, is expected to spur economic growth on the eastern side of MacArthur and along Junction Circle and Stanford Avenue.
Within the business district, there is an additional 1% sales tax collected that helps to fund improvements in roads, sewers, and other infrastructure.
What people are saying about the sports complex
"It's a generational-changing development." --Steve Luker, Legacy Pointe Development Company managing partner
"This creates a brand-new market for us." --Scott Dahl, director of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"Scheels Sports Park at Legacy Pointe will drive tourism and serve as an important local quality of life asset, which are both vital in positioning our community for robust economic growth." --Ryan McCrady, president & CEO of the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance
"I think everyone is in agreement that once the sports complex is there, it's going to attract other businesses to the area." --Ald. Jennifer Notariano, Ward 6
— SpfldClinic (@SpfldClinic) May 15, 2023
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This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Scheels Sports Park at Legacy Pointe groundbreaking happens Wednesday