SPRINGFIELD, ILL (WICS/WRSP) — The long-awaited sports complex is finally happening.
Springfield City Council approved the Legacy Pointe Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
The project has been in the works for the last couple of years, and now, the city council gave the green light for funding.
The hope is to be able to host tournaments and tourists all year long and it even comes with some economic benefits.
City officials are looking to boost tourism and economic development in the Capital City.
Ward 9 Alderman Jim Donelan said the complex could put Springfield on the map for sports tourism.
"The common question that I've gotten is 'why can't we do it here? Why can't Springfield get its act together?' And I think we're right on track to do just that," Donelan said.
The $67 million project will be located on MacArthur Boulevard by Scheels.
It will include multiple indoor and outdoor facilities to accommodate nearly 10 different sports.
Donelan said with tournaments taking place all year long, more people will travel to Springfield to use the sports complex.
He said that restaurants, retail businesses, and hotels will benefit.
Local officials say the project could generate about 250,000 new visitors. They're also projecting nearly $30 million in annual spending for the city.
"That's only going to we're going to benefit all areas of the city. The economic impacts are multiplied, and we're going to have tax dollars coming in but we normally wouldn't have had," Donelan said.
Donelan said the project came back to the city council after the developers wanted to amend the agreement.
The facility was originally set to be built in two phases but now it will be built in one.
But not all aldermen are in favor of the project.
"We have so much else going on in Springfield with downtown, Route 66 Peoria Road, the other main entrances into the city got to be improved to strengthen our neighborhoods," Joe McMenamin, Ward 7 Alderman, said.
McMenamin said he thinks Tuesday night’s vote should have been a vote for the new council.
Once the agreement is signed, developers will have 90 days to start construction.
The hope is to start in May or June.
The complex must be open to the public before the end of 2025.
The proposal passed by a vote of 10 to 1.