The Rockford Park District’s new Sportscore facilities are expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue, with hundreds of sports teams anticipated to visit the Stateline area.
But the facilities do come at a cost, which is why the Park District has been soliciting money to help operate it.
“Winnebago County contributed $7 million to the project. The City of Loves Park contributed almost $4 million,” said Tim Dimke, Executive Director for the Rockford Park District.
More recently, the Machesney Park Board of Trustees donated $25,000 to the project. But, not every trustee agrees with that decision.
James Kidd says he doesn’t believe the money generated will trickle as far out as Machesney Park.
“I have a hard time believing that people are going to drive 10 miles, 7 miles to eat at Chili’s,” said Kidd.
Kidd would rather spend the money on local charities, because he believes they would generate more money for Machesney Park directly.
“The Boys and Girls Club is going to host three World Series this year, and I think that money, or those events…would generate more revenue than the sports complex in downtown Rockford,” said Kidd.
Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin was the deciding vote in making the donation. Bolin says supporting the project is important to the community as a whole.
“This is a community effort. It isn’t just what’s happening in Machesney Park, this is to enhance our entire region,” said Bolin.
Dimke says that while Rockford will reap most of the benefits of the Sportscore facilities — he believes the businesses in Machesney Park and other surrounding areas will benefit too.
“The way to travel to Sportscore One, for many of the people who start at maybe Sportscore Two, or come to town and travel to Sportscore One, is Harlem Road, which goes through Loves Park and Machesney, and a lot of the shopping,” said Dimke.
As for the charities missing out on funds, Kidd says he’s hoping the Board of Trustees will consider an amendment to the Village’s budget at their meeting next Monday — which would allocate additional money for those charities.