Future Champions Approved for South Jacksonville Tourism Grant for Pair of New Scoreboards

By Jeremy Coumbes on May 9, 2023 at 1:59pm

A Jacksonville sports complex is partnering with the Village of South Jacksonville for a couple of major improvements at the facility. The South Jacksonville Board of Trustees approved a $50,000 tourism grant request by the Future Champions Sports Complex during the May meeting last Thursday.

Kristin Jamison had presented the request to the board in April in an effort to have a new scoreboard installed on each of the two most utilized baseball fields at the complex.

The $50,000 grant is the largest amount ever approved from tourism grant funding by South Jacksonville. Village President Dick Samples said following the meeting last week, that it just makes sense to help support a major driver of tourism funds for the village.

Over the period of- I’ve been here twenty years and I don’t know how long that establishment has been here, probably at least fifteen years, and the village has never contributed one dime, or been asked to contribute to at that time was Lenz Field.

So this will be something that will be there twenty-four seven, and again we are not advertising the Village of South Jacksonville as much as we are the four motels because that’s where the money comes from.”

Advertising for the four hotels in South Jacksonville will be a prominent piece of the new scoreboards. Samples says a very large amount of money comes into the tourism grant fund via the motel/hotel tax due to patrons of the Future Champions sports complex.

Jamison says with the majority of local hotels being in the village, and teams traveling from far and wide to compete at Future Champions, the economic impact is a win-win for the Village, Future Champions, and the City of Jacksonville overall.

We are just thrilled that the Village of South Jacksonville recognizes the important economic driver that is Future Champions Sports Complex. This past weekend we had fifty-five teams come to our complex from all over the region within Illinois and even beyond and most of them were staying in hotels, and enjoying our restaurants and using our gas stations and shopping and that sort of a thing. We realize how important it is for our complex to be here in Jacksonville and what that does for our local businesses.”

Jamison says they are very thankful and find it very gratifying that the village recognizes the impact and agreed to become a community partner to help keep teams coming to the area as more complexes like Future Champions are popping up.

The fact that they will shoulder the cost of two new scoreboards is really important to us. We realize that other municipalities across the State of Illinois and beyond are investing in these types of sports complexes and we realize that we have a lot that we will be competing with in the near future. So it’s important for us to increase our amenities as quickly as we can, but we are also limited in our resources. So to have that support from a local municipality is really important and we are thankful for that support.”

The Village of South Jacksonville agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Future Champions not to exceed the $50,000 cost of purchasing and installing the two scoreboards with advertising for the hotels.

As part of the agreement, options for changing the advertising should a hotel change names, as well as provisions for keeping the advertising space for those hotels, even if the complex were to change hands were included.

Other work continues at the complex as the Jamisons and their partners will soon be opening a full-service bar and grill and arcade in the former Lenz facility.

The Future Swings instructional center is also relocating to the property making the complex a one-stop shop for baseball and softball competition and instruction.