SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2016

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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www.sportseventsmagazine.com November 2016 23 Many changes are afoot in and around Rockford, IL, where sports events are booming. The city's ambitious Reclaim- ing First initiative, the Rockford Park District and Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau effort to "retain, regain and grow the valuable amateur sports tourism market." The UW Health Sports Factory, Rockford's new 108,000-square- foot riverfront indoor sports complex, opened in June. The huge complex offers 16 volleyball courts, eight basketball courts, 16 wrestling mats, 42 pickleball courts and seating for 3,700 on portable bleachers, along with a restaurant/bar, meeting rooms and more. The venue, named for the sponsoring health system associated with the University of Wiscon- sin-Madison, also accommodates other sports such as dance and cheerleading. Meanwhile, a major expansion and renovation is underway at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two, in Loves Park, a metro- politan Rockford town about five miles northeast of downtown. The expansion will add a 10-story, 133,000-square-foot building — the Mega Sports Center — adjacent to the existing Mercyhealth Sportscore Indoor Sports Center building. The new facility will have a synthetic-turf field featuring paved spectator areas on either side that will be capable of hosting six soccer games simultaneously or four softball games. It will also have a lobby area, a connector building to the Indoor Sports Center, concession services and restrooms, and is scheduled to open Summer 2017. While the new building is being constructed, the existing Indoor Sports Center at Sportscore Two will see an upgrade of its dasher boards in the west section, tread replacement to existing mezzanine stairs and new synthetic turf added to the east portion. The projects will add more than 400 parking spaces. Mercyhealth Sportscore One will also undergo minor renovations to its parking lot and restrooms. At present, the 60,000-square-foot Indoor Sports Center Mercyhealth Sport- score Two has two indoor soccer fields and is suitable for indoor softball, golf and more. It features a restaurant and a sports equipment retail operation. The entire 180-acre Sportscore Two facility is home to 2,500-seat Wedgbury Stadium, 26 soccer fields, including six lighted turf fields, and three sand volley- ball courts. Sportscore One has 18 soccer fields, eight lighted softball/baseball diamonds and a fishing pond with a boat ramp. It is FIFA certified. Both Sportscore venues are well known for hosting soccer, softball, baseball, lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee and rugby tournaments. The MercyRockford Health System secured naming rights for the Sportscore operation late last year. ► Special Feature: NEW & RENOVATED SPORTS VENUES Space Coast Field of Dreams Sports Complex Makes Athletes of All One very special sports facility opened early this year that's sure to put big smiles on the faces of some very special kids and adults. Space Coast Field of Dreams sports complex is a new five-acre, $5 million multi-sport park in West Melbourne, FL, designed to be all-access for youth and adults with all abilities. "We're a private park but we're open to the public," said Space Coast Field of Dreams Executive Director Dr. Melissa Patton, "so we don't discriminate. But a lot of our programs are geared toward families and individuals that have unique abilities." The new facility has a full-sized soccer field, a basketball court and a baseball field that features a state-of-the-art digital scoreboard donated by United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), the nation's largest multi-sport organization. USSSA has donated additional equipment for the sports complex and other companies have provided materials and services as well. The Space Coast Field of Dreams baseball diamond infield was construct- ed with a special surface to facilitate easy movement of walkers and wheel- chairs, and all areas of the sports complex are handicapped accessible. "Our purpose is to provide Florida's first all-access park and playground for kids and adults with all abilities," said Dr. Patton. "Our mission is to support those families. There are very few places you can go in this country where a child with Down syndrome or a child with spina bifida can actually play in a league and feel like they're part of a team. We have leagues playing here almost every day of the week to support those kids." League play is in three categories: one adult and two youth, according to Dr. Patton. n

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