Hundreds of people celebrated the expansion of a Stateline staple Wednesday evening. MercyHealth Sportscore Two has added a new indoor sports center to its campus after nearly a decade of planning.
The 133,000 square foot facility includes new features like five new multi-purpose fields and three sand volleyball courts, making it one of the largest sports complexes in the Midwest. The idea is to provide a place where local and non-local kids can play sports year round.
“I just had a family come up and say, ‘Thank you so much, because now we’re gonna be able to play a lot of indoor tournaments right here at home’ instead of having to drive all winter to all their indoor soccer tournaments. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke.
The expansion was the result of financial collaboration among several different entities, including Winnebago County, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Cherry Valley, the Rockford Park District, MercyHealth System, and even the state. Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) says when lawmakers saw the economic impact the expansion would have on the area, it was easy to get a state tourism grant worth more than $640,000.
“This draws teams from all over the country, so it’s bringing out of state money into Illinois,” said Syverson. “That’s a real economic return on the investment.”
Sportscore Two already brings in over $15 million for the Rockford area annually. With the new expansion, which also includes improvements to Wedgbury Stadium and the outdoor soccer fields, officials estimate the income will grow to around $35 million. Dimke says local businesses and towns will see the benefits of that revenue.
“The impact not only for the citizens, and our citizens being able to use this facility, but the impact on our economy is huge and it will go on, it’s sustainable for many, many years to come,” he said.