Written by Jack McCarthy
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00
An artist’s conception of the new indoor amateur sports complex set to open in 2014 at the former Ingersoll site on the Rock River in downtown Rockford. The Rockford City Council approved financing arrangments for the project late last month. Image provided by Sink Combs Dethlefs.
Amateur sports complex set for Rock River site
Amateur athletes will have a new place to compete and Rockford’s downtown will get a shot in the arm with a indoor sports and recreation complex projected to open in 2014.
The facility—billed as one of the largest indoor amateur sports centers in the Midwest—took a major step towards reality with Rockford City Council approval of a financing plan.
The city council backed project financing at its Jan. 28 meeting and hired Sink Combs Dethlefs, a nationally renowned athletic facility design firm, to lead the project’s architectural and engineering team.
Local architectural and engineering firms are expected to serve as sub-consultants.
Rockford Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey said the project will help increase the city’s amateur sports profile.
“This project will act as a spring board for our community—propelling us to the next level in attracting amateur sports tournaments and tournaments to the Rockford community,” he said “This complex will cement our reputation as a premier sporting destination in the Midwest, spur downtown development, generate new tax revenue and grow jobs.”
The city-owned site is on the former Ingersoll manufacturing complex on the banks of the Rock River in downtown Rockford, across from Davis Festival Park.
The 115,000 square foot riverfront complex will feature eight basketball courts, at least 14 volleyball courts, an extreme sports park, children’s play area, riverwalk and more.
The complex is one of four projects included in the region’s Reclaiming First master plan for sports tourism.
Additionally, the region is advancing the modernization and expansion of its existing Indoor Sports Center and Sportscore One and Two complexes.
City officials are working to finalize a construction timeline, with an anticipated opening by fall 2014. The Rockford Park District will operate the complex and the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau will lead sales, marketing and booking of the complex for amateur sports tournaments.
The structure, built in phases between 1941 and 1967, will become a multi-court, hard surface, air-conditioned facility and will create an opportunity to host hard surface sports events that the region is currently unable to accommodate.
It is anticipated that the complex will host 30-plus tournaments per year, in addition to use by local citizens.
A team representing the City of Rockford, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rockford Park District, City of Loves Park, and Reclaiming First stakeholders reviewed 11 proposals and then narrowed the field down to four.
Sink Combs Dethlefs (SCD), a sports recreation architectural firm from Chicago (www.sinkcombs.com) is the lead design agency.
“SCD has assembled a phenomenal team to make our vision a reality,” said Patrick Zuroske, City of Rockford Capital Program Manager. “We are excited to be working with a nationally recognized leader in sports facility planning and design. With more than 50 years of experience, their state-of-the-art facilities can be found all over the country and Canada.”
The SCD group includes the local architectural firm of Larson & Darby (architectural and structural); civil engineers McClure Engineering and Missman—both of Rockford; recreational planner and landscape architect, Hitchcock Design Group; mechanical engineers, KJWW; sustainability design firm, Conservation Design Forum; skate park designer, Spohn Ranch; Duray, a food service design firm; WJHW, audio/visual systems; and consultants to assist with acoustics and marketing analysis.
Additionally, the Reclaiming First plan calls for the outdoor fields at Sportscore Two to be expanded and updated by adding multi-sport fields, lighting and artificial turf.
All volleyball and basketball activities currently at the Indoor Sports Center will be moved to the downtown complex. An additional artificial turf soccer field will be added to the existing Indoor Sports Center building, and the building will be expanded to house three additional soccer fields (five total).
Furthermore, Sportscore One will be upgraded to modernize and refresh the complex.
Upgrades at the Sportscore complexes will bring the facilities up to current industry standards, increase day and seasonal playing time, eliminate many weather related cancellations and delays, and expand tournament capacity by allowing for longer seasons and accommodating new sports such as lacrosse or rugby.
The process of networking with national, regional, and local tournament organizers to discuss using Ingersoll for future tournaments is underway.
Many have actually toured the facility and have expressed excitement over the project.
These organizers include basketball, volleyball, wrestling, dance, and others. RACVB continues to reach out to additional organizers that cover such sports as cheerleading, tumbling, adapted sports, and action sports (i.e., rock climbing, BMX, skateboarding, etc.).
“Our region has a reputation of being a leader in amateur sports,” said John Groh, RACVB’s president/CEO. “In order to further meet our citizens’ needs and compete in the tourism market we need to upgrade our facilities. We are excited about the Reclaiming First initiative and know it has the potential to secure Rockford as the number one amateur sporting destination.”
The goal is to begin construction on the downtown Ingersoll project in 2013 with the facility ready for use in 2014. The project team hopes to finalize the necessary funding for Sportscore One and Two and the Indoor Sports Center in 2013.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 10:08