SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2017

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

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www.sportseventsmagazine.com November 2017 19 Special Feature: NEW & RENOVATED SPORTS VENUES ► Portland, Texas The City of Portland, Texas, recently opened two new facilities, Municipal Park and the Sports Complex. After 10 months of construction and Category 4 Hurricane Harvey follow- ing the groundbreaking on the two new sports facilities caused delays, the public attended opening ceremonies. Both ven- ues sustained damage from the hurricane, forcing the city to delay the openings by about a month. "We've been working with Hellas Construction to undo the damage Hurricane Harvey did to these facili- ties," said Portland Mayor David Krebs. "We've always said these sports fields were about building a place for families and we've never lost sight of that. So, with fall youth leagues gearing up, we wanted these venues to be available for kids to play ball. This will be one more step toward normalcy after Harvey." The Sports Complex project includes four softball fields that will be used for baseball, soccer and youth football, and double as a UIL soccer field. The complex also includes a multipurpose turf field, concession areas, a covered playground with a splash pad, a covered basketball court, a walking/jogging track and covered fitness station, concession areas, picnic and grill areas, and shade structures. Municipal Park has five state-of-the- art baseball fields, which can be used for softball and soccer. A covered play- ground with splash pad, shade structures and picnic areas are also in the park. Fields in both parks include artificial turf, sports lighting, covered seating, scoreboards, dual-lane batting cages and dugouts on the softball fields. The project is part of a larger plan to provide recreational facilities for the residents of Portland. The projects were approved by voters in a 2016 bond elec- tion. For more information, visit www.portlandtx.com or www.portlandtx.org. ► Champaign County, Ill. In Champaign County, a $170 million renovation of the State Farm Center, home to the Fighting Illini Men's and Women's Basketball programs and the annual Illinois High School Association Individual Wrestling Championships, was completed. The arena is the third largest in Illinois and renovations to the 16,500-seat facility included adding pre- mium seating and box seats; improved restrooms and concessions; a team hall of fame; and air conditioning, which was much needed, according to Terri Reifsteck, vice president of marketing of Visit Champaign County. The venue is now able to host events year-round. Visit www.visitchampaigncounty.org for more information. ► Murfreesboro, Tenn. Dawn Nasoori, coordinator with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce in Murfreesboro, Tenn., said several new fields and renovations are taking place in the area, including at Cedar Stone Park on Morton Lane that was completed in September. Four new fields were con- structed in the community park with plans to build up to 13 ball fields. Cedar Stone Park offers walking trails, picnic shelters and a playground, along with a concession stand and restrooms near the ballfields. ► ommunities large and small across the country are answering the demand for more places to play sports by building new facilities or renovat- ing old spaces to host more events. The current reality is that communities want places to play but they need to attract outside sports events to help cover the cost of construction, maintenance and operation. In many areas, sports events are the final part of the economic equation when traditional meetings and tourism dollars don't provide enough business to keep hotels, restaurants and attrac- tions full during off-peak hours. Enter sports. While sports events industry leaders continue to voice con- cern over who will use these facilities in the future with par- ticipation rates declining or growing only slightly, community leaders today say new facilities are spurring increased interest in both team sports and general recreation. Here, we take a look at how the prospect of new sports tourism dollars are revitalizing communities across the United States. C State Farm Center in Champaign County, Ill.

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