Proposed sports fields would bring millions to area

IF WE BUILD IT THEY WILL COME—The proposed West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) Ten Mile Road Athletic Complex. According to the WMSC, the field would host youth and amateur sports teams every weekend of the baseball/softball season and bring millions in revenue to the area.

IF WE BUILD IT THEY WILL COME—The proposed West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) Ten Mile Road Athletic Complex. According to the WMSC, the field would host youth and amateur sports teams every weekend of the baseball/softball season and bring millions in revenue to the area. Artwork courtesy progresivejae

Millions of dollars would come to the area if a proposed sports complex is built on Ten Mile Road. According to Mike Guswiler, Executive Director of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC), this area was identified in a study as being ideal for a sports complex.

“We really took a look at this and had a consultant come in and tell us what the best sports fields were… They said travel amateur and youth baseball and softball leagues would use the fields Thursday through Sunday,” he stated.

The WMSC is a three-year-old organization designed to promote economic opportunities for the area. They identified the site, in part, because it is county-owned.

On Thursday, June 11, the WMSC approached the Kent County Board of Commissioners asking if a long-term lease of the property could be arranged for one dollar a year.

Roger Morgan, Chairman of the Kent County Board of Commissioners, said their finance committee formed a sub-committee to look into the legalities of such a transaction.

“Because that land was purchased by ratepayer dollars, there may be some stipulations as to its use,” he said. He added that he is entirely in support of the project.

City Manager Michael Young, who is on the Ten Mile Corridor Committee dedicated to controlling retail growth in the corridor, said this use would be accepted.

“We wouldn’t want any of the fast food or retail that can come with this kind of development, but we don’t oppose this use at all,” he said.

Guswiler said the study the WMSC is following shows that 12 fields and a championship field would be ideal. It would cost 5.6 million to build, not including any land cost.

A donor was identified who would offer a fund-matching gift of part of the amount. That offer is tentatively on hold, however, given the state of the state economy.

“We are not a development organization, we are in a position to lead the discussion on this project,” said Guswiler.

He said economic growth through increased hotel/motel revenue is a part of the goal in creating a project like this, but not the whole purpose.

“Our studies show that people will travel within 40 miles of this complex for shopping, dining and other reasons,” said Guswiler. “It wouldn’t only benefit the businesses in downtown Rockford, it would benefit anyone in the greater Rockford area. It’s not just an economic opportunity, it’s also a quality of life opportunity.”

Morgan said legal issues should be answered by this fall. If financing came in immediately, the complex could be ready for play by 2011.

“We are lucky in this area to have many wonderful philanthropists,” Guswiler stated. The financing would be a gift, since the complex itself would not be a money-maker. “The economic growth would be through visitors coming to the area for sports tourism.” Guswiler said their study figures show 50 million in hotel/motel revenue alone in ten years.

Other Stories from the Squire

Top News…

Michigan ChalleNGe cadet meets Dale Earnhardt Jr. ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Respect, hard work, … [Continue Reading...]

Attention veterans! A call to action. Please stand for those who have fallen.   The Moving … [Continue Reading...]

The Rockford Girls’ Lacrosse team has been ranked number one in the Division One poll for most of … [Continue Reading...]

By JOHN HOGAN Rockford - and most of West Michigan, became a water wonderland last week as a … [Continue Reading...]

More Posts from this Category

In Other News

Knowing Your Competition   by David Broyles SCORE Counselor   Regardless of … [Continue Reading...]

Downtown Rockford was as busy this sidewalk sale week as in past years, despite a heat index of over … [Continue Reading...]

Rockford resident, writer and photographer John Hogan shared this picture with the Squire. The … [Continue Reading...]

David S. Fry

They wrote the book on cottage law—literally Recently, Attorney David S. Fry opened the … [Continue Reading...]

More Posts from this Category

Comments

  1. Denise Tanski says:

    Just wondering… Where will all these people park to dine and shop and spend millions in Rockford? You must admit that parking spots in Rockford are somewhat hard to find. My family usually ends up going somewhere outside of Rockford for a meal out because we can’t find nearby parking. And will players who are grimy and sweaty be welcome in one of your finer establishments? What’s wrong with a fast food place or two at Ten Mile and 131? Just wondering……

  2. Esther Haywood says:

    I agree ,whats wrong with a few resturents coming to ten mile , every other community where a meijers goes in buisness,and resturents follow , but not in rockford , you would rather we drive ten miles or more to alpine and spend our money. and i know many who do. because it is already to busy to park downtown. it time to let this area develope. help our gas budget too.

Speak Your Mind

*