The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Future use of downtown Rockford, IL. sports complex debated !

ROCKFORD, IL. — A Rockford Park District staff recommendation to reduce the number of regional sports tournaments at the UW Health Sports Factory in favor of more local programming is drawing opposition from tourism officials, developers and downtown supporters.

They argue the plan would violate the intergovernmental agreement that was instrumental in creating the downtown sports facility and attracting investors who helped transform an empty factory across the Rock River into the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center.

The recommendation, which is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the park district board, is part of a multifaceted cost-cutting plan that also includes the closures of Riverview Ice House, Mercyhealth Sportscore One in northwest Rockford and Elliot Golf Course in Cherry Valley.

Regional tournaments held at the UW Health Sports Factory provided a significant basis for the sale of the bonds and the attraction of investors supporting the Sports Factory and Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center, former Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said.

“If there’s a need to go back to the table to address shortcomings, I appreciate that,” Morrissey said. “But, what I don’t appreciate is the (park district) 2020 updated Action Plan was a shock to all of the stakeholders and to be threatened or essentially held hostage, either give us more money or we’re shutting down the Rockford facilities as we had previously negotiated, seems to be bad faith.”

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