RANTOUL, Ill. (WAND) - The ground breaking for the Rantoul Sports Complex will happen on Tuesday afternoon.
The $20 million sports complex is expected to attract people in the Midwest to the area.
"Being in Rantoul we are centrally located, we are looking at a four hour radius for a lot of our big tournaments," explained Luke Humphrey, Recreation Director for the Village of Rantoul.
The plan would involve a 60-plus acre facility on the west side of town, close to Interstate-57. The complex will include 8 turf baseball, softball and t-ball diamonds, in addition to, 8 turf multi-purpose fields for soccer, football, lacrosse and rugby.
"This can be a one stop shop for when you show up on the weekend and you can pull into your hotel and you don't have to leave, everything will be right there at your fingertips," explained Humphrey.
The funding for the project come from private contributions, donations, grants and sponsorship, with most funding provided by bonds covered by income from the Rantoul tax-increment financing fund.
"Our ultimate goal from the very beginning was to create a destination where we can create a lot of quality of life opportunities not just for Rantoul, but for everyone around the region."
Village officials believe the complex will lead to more restaurants, hotels and retail along the I-57 corridor. Mayor Charles Smith said the plan is to drive the economic development and lower taxes.
"This is the economic engine that will take Rantoul into the future," he said.
A Visit Champaign County market study in its report, which found a 60-team youth baseball tournament could lead to direct business sales of $656,000 from over 3,000 visitors.
"It's a nice way to offset the loss of the Chanute Air Force base - people are really excited about this, mostly parents with children," explained Smith.
The plans for the project started a little over a year ago. Humphrey said they've heard an overall positive response from the community.
"We've gone from an idea on a shelf to a ground breaking in about a year."
The groundbreaking ceremony is Jan. 14 at 1 p.m., on Stonebridge Drive, near Wal-Mart and Holiday Inn Express. The complex is expected to be finished in March 2021.