New baseball complex receives financial boost

By John Gregory

 

The West Michigan Sports Commission received another boost in their fund raising efforts to build a twelve-field sports complex in Plainfield Township. The Consumer’s Energy Foundation announced a $125,000 grant on Wednesday October 10th that is part of $1.25 million the foundation is granting to ten community projects around Michigan as part of their 125th Anniversary.

Art Van Furniture secured the naming rights to the complex with a $1.8 million donation that was announced on September 20th. The $7.8 million dollar complex, located on 10 Mile Road between US 131 and downtown Rockford, is scheduled to break ground on the first phase of the facility later this month. The first phase of the construction is slated for eight fields, including a Miracle Field for disabled players.

The complex will eventually include a dozen fields including a championship field with a covered grandstand for 1,000 spectators. Several of the fields are slated to be lighted, incluiding the championship field. Infield grass, permanent mounds and dugouts are also on the drawing board. Other plans slated for the finished product include parking areas, concessions, restrooms and a picnic area.

Historically travel baseball teams from the west side of the state have found themselves being forced to travel to various venues around Michigan (primarily the Detroit area) in search of better competition. Most of these venues are four to eight field converted softball facilities that often include no pitching mound. When the Art Van Complex is completed it will not only draw top level teams from around the Midwest, it will enable the local teams to cut down on a travel schedule that often includes several weekends in a typical summer. As well, it will pour significant money into the local economy.

 

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