The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

NEW ERA Nears For Sunny Lake Concessions Stand; Aurora Men In Charge !

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Aurora, CO. — The concession stand at Sunny Lake Park will be upgraded next summer to provide a gourmet niche.

There will be a grill for hamburgers and a large ceramic smoker for items like smoked brisket and smoked pork.

“We’ll use the smoker for some of the bigger events so people will be able to get something more substantial to eat,” said David Lasky, who will operate Sunny Lake Events Services at the park’s concession stand along with Scott Holman. Both are Aurora residents.

That will be in addition to other concession stand items on sale throughout the summer, including Nathan’s hot dogs, ice cream, nachos, chips, pizza and pop.

The concession stand will be operational from April to October.

Lasky said the idea came from an effort by the parks-rec department to get food products delivered to the Sunny Lake fields.

Holman said it will be exciting to partner with the city, especially while doing it as parents.

“We have some great ideas,” he said. “We’ve seen what’s out there. We think ours will be pretty cool to show off. David and I are big advocates of Aurora.

“When we get to share with others what Aurora is, that’s a cool thing. We’re proud of what our city is.”

Holman said the concession stand will provide a convenience for people.

“Instead of going into town to get food, it will be great to have that facility for people to go to,” he said. “There are a lot of baseball families.”

Lasky said their vision is for the concession stand to be operated by Aurora residents, “so whoever works there is an integral part of our community. Most communities are proud of entrepreneurial spirit. Employing people from your community is important.

“Currently, when you rent a boat at the boat house pavilion, no food service is provided,” he said. “We also hope to provide catering options. There is a desire to have catering as part of the rental.”

Lasky said on the ballfield side, “we’ve gone to different concession stands operated by communities. We hope to have a higher quality of food than people have received at other concession stands.”

He said the ballfield concession stand will be open when games are scheduled, and the smoker will be there for larger events such as tournaments and for catering at the boat house.

Lasky said their group worked at the city’s recent fall festival.

“To have a simple food service there is something the community is excited about,” he said. “And to be able to have a dinner rather than a couple of hot dogs, people are excited about that, too.”

Lasky said he and Holman make a good team “between Scott’s experience in the food service industry and mine in the concession area.

“I worked for a sports service from Maryland that provided food for the Indians, Browns and Cavs,” he said.

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Lorain, OH soccer academy transforms into multisport complex !

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 Loraine, OH – The operators of a Lorain sports complex want to be a game-changer in the city and the entire west side of Cleveland.

Lost Nation Sports Park West, 2101 All Pro Athletic Parkway, Lorain, will open its doors to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 17th.

The event marks the next step in the transformation of the former Brad Friedel Premier Soccer Academy to become a sports training complex that is open to the public.

“The potential here is pretty significant,” said Mike Srsen, developer of the Lost Nation Sports Park in Willoughby and former treasurer of the Cleveland Browns.

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The 80,000-square-foot field house has been partitioned with spaces separated by lines marking fields of play and hanging nets to stop the flight of stray balls.

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“This used to be one big soccer field,” said Joe Magill, assistant general manager of the facility.

On Oct. 14, the Lost Nation Sports Park West was a hub of activity as crews ran steam cleaners over 50,000 square feet of indoor turf.

Freshly painted lines were drying on two full-size basketball courts. Carpenters were building the platform that will become an indoor batting cage with Iron Mike pitching machines for eight batting stations.

There are new walls set up to delineate a smaller practice space for youths. Some bleachers were set up for spectators while others were turned up on the side to make room for work.

The facility is undergoing a transformation because it was designed and built for soccer players and coaches, not multiple uses and spectators, said Chris Dore, general manager of Lost Nation Sports Park West.

“The whole concept is to make sure it’s multisport,” Dore said. “You can do all of the different sports that you want here.

“Looking out into the field, there aren’t a lot of facilities that are opened up like this, so we’ve got a lot of room to play,” he said.

The academy, originally intended to be a development institute for aspiring professional soccer players, opened in 2007. It went bankrupt in 2009 and has been used as a training facility by the Cleveland Gladiators.

Chris Haas, owner of All-Pro Freight, purchased the property in October 2013. In August, Haas and Srsen announced the new name and joint venture to develop the best multisport, year-round complex on the west side of Cleveland.

“We think we hopefully will be delivering that message when we open up,” Srsen said.

The field house is the first stage of redeveloping the soccer academy to become Lost Nation Sports Park West.

The soccer academy was built with a living center with 20 dorm rooms for players. There is a coaches lounge, a house parents room, a balcony overlooking an outdoor soccer field behind the center, a learning center, a commercial grade kitchen and cafeteria and a weight room.

That center has potential to provide housing for players and their families and to become a new sports-themed restaurant. Srsen noted The Players Club at Lost Nation Sports Park is a key part of that sports complex.

“I think, in general, this has been sort of a hidden jewel in Lorain County,” Srsen said. “What we’re doing is evolutionary, not revolutionary. We want to do things methodically and correctly, build it up.”

Communities such as Avon, Avon Lake and Westlake are growing quickly with young families, Srsen said. The Lost Nation Sports Park West will not necessarily be an overnight sensation, but the operators want to set the foundation for long-term success, he said.

“On this side of town, once again my gut feeling is, the potential is there to provide the same type of product and service that we do on the east side,” Srsen said. “I think we’ll be very well received.”

The facility will remain the training center of the Cleveland Gladiators team of the Arena Football League.

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Tyger River Park wins the 2015 ASA Complex of the Year presented by Stabilizer Solutions !

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OKLAHOMA CITY —After hosting numerous ASA/USA events this year, Tyger River Park in Duncan, S.C. has been selected as the 2015 Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America/USA Softball Complex of the Year presented by Stabilizer Solutions, Inc. Announced today by ASA/USA Softball, Tyger River Park, operated by Spartanburg Parks and Recreation Department, will receive their award at the 84th ASA/USA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky. and will also receive approximately $2,000 in field maintenance products from Stabilizer Solutions. 

“Congrats to Tyger River Park on winning the 2015 Complex of the Year award,” said Chris Sebren, ASA/USA Director of Championships.  “Spartanburg has built an exceptional facility that provides fans and teams with everything that they could dream of and more. This is truly one of the premier complexes in the United States.”

Previous award winners include Arrowhead Park (Broken Arrow, Okla.) in 2014, Charlie McVay Complex (Roswell, N.M.) in 2013, the Botetourt Sports Complex (Botetourt County, Va.) in 2012, the James I. Moyer Sports Complex (Salem, Va.) in 2011, Veterans Park and Athletic Complex (College Station, Texas) in 2010, Heritage Park Softball Complex (St. Joseph, Mo.) in 2009, Twin Creeks Softball Complex (Woodstock, Ga.) in 2008 and Freedom Ridge Park Complex (Ridgeland, Miss.) in 2007. The Field of Dreams Complex (Las Cruces, N.M.) won the inaugural 2006 award. 

“Congratulations to all those who have helped Tyger River Park join the ranks of ASA/USA Complex of the Year award winners,” said Jon Hubbs, President of Stabilizer Solutions, Inc.  “These fields have to be in premier shape, as they are the centerpiece of a true recreational paradise.”

Built in 2012, Tyger River Park is South Carolina’s premier baseball and softball tournament facility. The complex sits on 137 acres and features a disc-golf course, a ‘splash pad’ to escape the summer heat, four picnic shelters, over 10 acres of playground equipment and fitness trails that have outdoor fitness equipment. Inside the ballpark, there are 12 baseball/softball fields, a championship stadium field and batting cages. The 12 fields are clustered in groups of four in an overall park layout resembling a four-leaf clover. Each field offers covered spectator seating, spacious covered dugouts with major league style benches and 14-foot scoreboards with countdown game timers. The championship stadium has stadium seating for a capacity of 600 and showcases 300-foot fences to give teams and fans the ultimate championship experience. Each cluster of fields has a “scorers tower” that serves all four fields while a park-wide sound system allows staff to keep communication with fans in case of an emergency. At the heart of Tyger River Park is an observation tower, located right next to the clubhouse, which overlooks the entire park.

“This a tremendous achievement for South Carolina ASA/USA and the County of Spartanburg,” said South Carolina ASA/USA Softball Commissioner Chad Greene. “I have personally traveled the country with ASA/USA Softball and Tyger River Park is definitely one of the top complexes in North America and I have the luxury of having it in my backyard. This award is truly an honor and we are thrilled to accept it.”

Most recently, Tyger River Park hosted the 2015 ASA/USA Girls’ 18U Class A National Championship, which was held at the end of July. For more information on Tyger River Park, please visit tygerriverpark.com.

About ASA/USA Softball
Founded in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball is the National Governing Body Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, ASA/USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 74 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million.  ASA/USA is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about ASA/USA Softball, please visithttp://www.asausasoftball.com

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[ SODA is an Allied Member of ASA/USA Softball ]

Big changes in works for Family First Sports Park in Erie, PA. !

 

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   Erie, PA. may soon be a little icier thanks to renovation plans for a local sports complex.

Family First Sports Park may soon have a new owner, one that promises to bring more ice rinks to the area and turn the complex into one of the best on this side of the country.

Family First Sports Park is currently home to soccer fields, basketball courts and a driving range, but hockey fans say there’s something missing: ice rinks.

Bob Catalde, President of Greater Regional Erie Athletic Team Training or G.R.E.A.T.T. says he’s committed to changing that.

“This whole thing started with me looking for the ideal location to build a new ice rink,” Catalde said. “It became more and more apparent that a standalone ice rink is very difficult to be self-sufficient.”

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Catalde is in an agreement to purchase Family First Sports Park and plans on turning it into a premier sports park. He says the new facility would be the best sports park Erie has ever had and one of the best on this side of the country.

“This is an ambitious project, but one that we think its completion will really put Erie on the map for a lot of reasons,” Catalde said.

Erie residents, particularly hockey players and fans, say this is hockey town and that bringing more ice rinks the Erie is exactly what many residents want.

“We are stretched for ice time as it is,” local hockey player Chris Leszek said. “When basketball season gets here and it goes against what the Otters are doing, there’s always room for more rink. We need more ice.”

The plans for Family First Sports Park also include new soccer, baseball, football and lacrosse fields.

Now, G.R.E.A.T.T. is waiting for the state budget to be passed, so that they can get the funding they need.

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Local businessman plans to reinvigorate sports complex in MO. !

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Joplin, MO – In a way, it’s a homecoming for Jon Buck.

“This is where I grew up,” he said. “It’s what helped make me who I am today. I played a lot of basketball here.”

Buck, a Joplin businessman who has been successful with food and entertainment in downtown Joplin, got the keys earlier this week to the Sports Park of Southwest Missouri, formerly the Four Seasons Sports Complex at the northeast corner of Newman and Prosperity roads.

Buck, now 33, worked there from age 14 to 21.

Local businessman plans to reinvigorate sports complex

“When I was 14, my dad said if I wanted a car at 16, I had better start saving my money,” he said. “I have worked every aspect of this place. I’m coming full circle.”

The property, now called the JOMO Activity and Sports Complex, was last used earlier this year to stage indoor events in the sports park’s 24,000-square-foot gymnasium.

“We’re signing up people for leagues this fall in basketball, futsol, which is indoor soccer, and volleyball.” he said. “We hope to partner with Joplin Parks and Recreation to offer some youth sports programming.”

League sign-ups are being handled through the Live JOMO Facebook page, which Buck uses to encourage people to eat, shop and enjoy entertainment in Joplin.

Buck said he plans to give the sports park a general face-lift. He also plans to redo four baseball fields.

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Plans to complete Riverway Sports Park to be considered !

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   The Visalia, CA. City Council on Monday will consider whether to approve plans to build the final phase of Riverway Sports Park.

Riverway, in northeast Visalia, opened in 2007, and has become a popular spot because of its numerous soccer and ball fields, as well as it’s playground and water play area.

But only phase one of the five-phase project had been completed at that time — including 10 soccer fields, three sheltered picnic areas, two restroom/concession facilities, two playgrounds, one water feature, parking and general park amenities on 46 acres.

Over the years three additional phases have been finished, adding 20 acres to the park.

At a recent Visalia City Council retreat, the members directed city staff to design phase five, and the city Parks and Recreation Commission voted last month on a design that includes four softball fields with fences at the 300-foot mark located 300 feet from home plate to accommodate adult and youth play.

This design is consistent with the master plan for the park the council approved 15 years ago, according to a report to the City Council.

The fields also would include lighting, a concession/restroom building, parking, warm-up areas for teams, landscaping and park amenities similar to what already has been developed in other areas of the park, the report states.

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The new phase will occur in what is now a temporary storm drain basin in the southwest portion of the park. Work cannot begin until a storm drain pipeline is installed along Shannon Parkway, and the drain work may not occur until after construction is finished next year on a new city elementary school in the area.

As for when construction on Phase V may begin, the council directed staff to have the plans “shelf ready,” so the city could take action quickly once funds for the project become available.

The park design will be discussed during the council’s work session, which begins at 4 p.m. at the City Council Chambers at 707 W. Acequia Ave.

That will be followed by a close-session meeting immediately afterward, and the regular session will begin at 7 p.m. View the meeting agenda online at www.ci.visalia.ca.us.

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