Why is the Sports Complex back?

By:  Diane Benjamin

The report provided to both Bloomington and Normal in July of 2018 should have ended the conversation on a sports complex:  https://blnnews.com/2018/07/17/sports-complex-must-be-dead-on-arrival/

Why discussions have resurfaced now for an even more expensive facility – $50,000,000 -is slightly a mystery.  I know a few people to blame, why anybody thinks this is a good idea is the bigger mystery.  This morning I filed numerous FOIA requests, when I receive them more information should be available.

I can tell you Normal see tourism dollar signs.  They did last year, they still do.

Start with the soccer fields at the airport.  I did this story in April 2018 after FOIAing the FAA to get the real story.  https://blnnews.com/2018/04/05/faa-cira-and-soccer/

There is no mention of the fields being “dangerous”, the FAA just wants airport related development, not kids playing.  Somebody has been “misspeaking” for years.  The lease currently to use the soccer fields expires in 1 1/2 years.

Next, who plays on the airport fields?  2 groups:

  • Prairie City Soccer League.  This a recreational League that only plays 12 games a year, 6 in the spring and 6 in the fall.  Rec does not do tournaments.
  • Illinois Fire Juniors.  These teams do travel, they have 1 local tournament (first annual) on their website  https://www.illinoisfirejuniors.com/falltournament
  • Fire has held a large tournament for over a decade in the Spring

One thing that will happen if the sports complex is built:  It will cost the players more to play.  Without financial support to cover the cost for low income families, soccer is a sport only the “better” off will be able to afford.

The 2018 presentation called for other sports to also be at the complex:  cricket, squash, volleyball, basketball, and baseball.  The consultant obviously knew soccer wasn’t enough and couldn’t generate enough money to justify it.  High schools already have facilities for volleyball and basketball.  The Pony League isn’t going to abandon their facility, a few traveling baseball teams isn’t going to pay for a $50,000,000 complex either.

The people behind this complex think they can steal tournaments for all kinds of sports currently held in Rockford.   Bloomington-Normal is centrally located with good interstate (if the state fixes them) access.  There is no guarantee of that happening.

There is an alternative:

 

These are pictures of a soccer complex that already exists.  It is located at the corner of Six Points Road and Rabbit Hill Road.  It is being built privately with donations and donated time from a lot of places:

Reinhart Grounds Maintenance

Weed Man lawn Care

Country Lace Bridal

Millennium Pain Center

Wilder, Corwin, Kelly and Associates

Starcrest Cleaners

Firehouse Pizza

OSF Children’s Hospital

Midwest Construction Rentals Inc

Surveyor- Bryan Hartman

Zeller Electric

Issacson Construction

ROWE/UCM Construction

Sparks Construction LLC

Individualized Repair

State Farm

Country Financial

Nord Family

Wherry Machine & Welding

Doug Barbour

JF Electric

GDS Displays

Minerva Promotions

Dr. Kirk Norian

Illinois Prairie Electric

Fat Jacks

Maggie Miley’s

Meatheads

Friends of Millennium FC

Millennium FC volunteers

Local Union Finshers and Labors apprenticeship.

The REAL Community Fields!

The group developing these fields is Millennium FC Soccer.  They currently have about 30 acres with 8 fields and a lot more acres available for more fields.  They do travel and try to keep costs as low as possible for the kids and their families.  They anticipate only holding 1 or 2 tournaments a year, more if their numbers grow.

They have a website:  https://www.millenniumfc.com/Default.aspx?tabid=687427

Lot of pictures are available on Facebook, they are even getting lightshttps://www.facebook.com/Millenniumfc/

This Saturday they are having a picnic for the soccer families.  I’m sure they wouldn’t mind the public stopping by to see what they are accomplishing without a dime of taxpayer money!

millfc

So why doesn’t this complex get more publicity?  See the RED print above.

This group will not play at the $50,000,000 complex, they don’t need to.

There is bad blood keeping all the local teams from working together.  I do know PCCL/Fire is trying to raise money for their own complex.  They have not raised enough money yet.  If the complex is built, the money raised will be used to pay the much higher fees they will forced to pay.  I talked this morning with a representative who has this message:  Don’t want to spend $50,000,000 on a complex, donate now.

An alternative would be remove whoever is blocking the organizations ability to work together.

Millennium FC is doing what baseball did.  The Pony League fields were built with private money.  Which should be supported?  The answer is obvious.

There are many issues left to cover.  This story will continue.

 

15 thoughts on “Why is the Sports Complex back?

  1. It is amazing what a community can due without government interference. I’m proud of the soccer group(s) who have made the effort to make their dreams come true.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These fields have been out at “Nords” since I was young and it’s good to see they are STILL used! In fact, we’d use them on “off” days for us “locals”
    I can think of ONE reason that UPTOWN, et al, keep pushing this “sports complex” they LOVE to spend OUR money in VERY WASTEFUL ways-1 UPTOWN, Trail East, etc. And Nord’s is CLEAR across town! You can’t expect Koos and the UPTOWN folks to go THAT FAR to see a game, CAN YOU??
    WHY don’t UPTOWN build something USEFUL, like an ACCOUNTING building, seems they could make GOOD USE of it..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. For fun, let’s use the best example I can think of for such a complex BN and the BN Sports Commission is promoting. Grand Park in Westfield, IN (Indy north suburb) is a 400 acre outdoor facility featuring 31 multi-purpose sports fields and 26 baseball diamonds. It was built by the City of Westfield at a cost of $60.5 million and opened in 2013. Cost of construction is presumably being paid off by a TIF district set aside for the development of hotels and restaurants adjacent to the complex. According to the City, the complex realized $4.7 million in revenue but operations costs were $4.5 million leaving the City with a $200,000 net profit. The only reason the profit was realized is because the NFL’s Colts use it as their training facility. The City also built an indoor youth athletic center at its cost, amount unknown, which is 88,000 SF with eight indoor multi-use courts mainly for basketball and volleyball. The NBA Indiana Pacers recently stepped forward to sponsor the facility in a long-term naming rights deal. These facilities are located in an area long known for amateur sports promotions and events and are barely making money to cover operating costs and are years away from paying for construction. The City even admits the facilities were built at the urging of the hospitality industry as a way to fill hotel space throughout the year. Even the National Federation of Sports Commissions admit these types of facilities will sooner or later experience a downturn in productivity and least of all profit. This also comes from other “experts” in the field

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You make great points but you forgot one real big one. Well maybe it’s 2 but whatever. For a thing like this to sustain and work there has to be local use by the local people at a high rate. This leads me to my biggie. Westfield is part of an MSA of nearly 2.8 million people. Idiots like Tari, Koos and Reece it appears have an inability to understand Bloomington/Normal is < Indianapolis and suburbs in population/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Didn’t really forget the points you brought up knowing that people who read the blog have the intelligence to figure that out for themselves. But you are right, it would not register mentally with most of our “leaders.” My understanding that the facilities are heavily used but obviously struggle to realize a profit. Substitute BN that would have at least nine months of minimal use and yeah, the picture is much worse. There a a few egg heads on the SC as well where it wouldn’t register including the Board Director that no longer lives in BN but Decatur and the Executive Director of the CVB.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The sports complex is back because Renner and Koos are traitors to the people they are supposed to be representing,,,,that is ALL the citizens, not just their cronies or a lousy 5%-6% of the population that vote for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a soccer parent but a taxpayer first last and always. No way we should spend any money let alone $50 million on a soccer complex. I am sure it is all about spending our money to landowner or contractor so they will make political contributions to those in power. ie corrruption.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “Leaders” in this area have always been big into legacy builds. Once dead and buried or charcoaled, the ego has to be stroked even after death. This desire comes from a long held desire to be accepted or seen as someone that led an exceptional existence. Being a good person or parent is never enough. I have to be recognized or remembered for doing or being involved in something great. This comes from insatiable ego, arrogance and narrcistic behavior, something this town has never had in short supply. If I ruin a life to realize it, so what? If I bust the bank, who are you to judge? If I burn some reputations, better you than me. This is why anything is ever considered. It’s not for the community, it’s for me and to hell with you if you don’t like it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Not a fan of PCSL or Fire Juniors. As a former soccer parent and coach both organizations were poorly managed. PCSL refs do not have the proper training for player safety. I know a few that play for Millennium FC and it seems like the way to go. Drove by their fields yesterday. They look very nice. Played there years ago. If Normal pushes this sports complex I will actively oppose it. We have plenty of fields and green space for more in current town and city parks.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. More importantly the actions of our local politicians should result in a free penalty kick to them personally. BTW I will not be having the kick involve soccer ball but…..

        Liked by 3 people

  8. These fields you speak of are Nord Fields. They have been used for soccer since the 1900’s. Millennium is renting the fields from the Nords. They don’t own them and have only been using them for 2 or 3 seasons. The Nords have always made these soccer fields available for people that ask to use them. There is NO WAY that the Fire Juniors are going to get a 50 million dollar complex paid for by taxpayers. Raise your own money and build your own….or do what millennium did and find someone that will rent you fields…like normal people.

    Liked by 1 person

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