Talks resume on the proposed $43 million multi-sports complex in the Twin Cities

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TWIN CITIES, Ill. — Bloomington and Normal’s councils are once again discussing the possibility of a new multi-purpose sports facility.

A study done in July 2018 shows the proposed Bloomington-Normal multi-sports complex would bring in plenty of revenue to the Twin City area.

“The clock keeps ticking away on the study’s relevance,” said Normal City Manager Pam Reece. “Basically indicated their metrics were good for 18 months, and we are 12 months in, so we certainly want to determine if we should put that issue to rest, or if it deserves further consideration moving forward.”

Reece says, because funding for the project will be tricky, she’s hoping a private stakeholder will be interested in investing in the plan.

“This particular project is all dependent on if there’s still a need and a desire to venture into the sports tourism economic impact,” said Reece. 

Community fields is the home of about a dozen soccer fields played on by the Illinois Fire Juniors soccer organization, but not for long. Their lease is ending soon and leaders say they are looking for a new venue.

“If Bloomington-Normal builds a sports complex we would probably be the biggest tennant of it,” said Jeremy Kelley, Board Secretary for Illinois Fire Juniors.

The soccer club has 2,000 youth players, Kelley says the proposed complex would allow the teams to practice at nights and when there’s bad weather. Most of all, it would bring money from other teams.

“Tournaments, you have a bigger facility you are able to attract regional competition get those hotel night stays,” said Kelley. “Certainly there’s money there, we do a tournament, and we are spending 5-600 dollars every weekend.”​​​​​​​

The Bloomington staff, Normal staff and Sports Commission will be meeting this Friday to brainstorm, and potentially take the next step on this project.

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