New Lenox Multi-Use Crossroads Sports Complex a Game-Changer for the Region

The Crossroads Sport Complex near the junction of Interstate 355 and U.S. 6 in New Lenox is expected to bring in millions of visitors and dollars for the region. (Photo by Stephanie Irvine)
The Crossroads Sport Complex near the junction of Interstate 355 and U.S. 6 in New Lenox is expected to bring in millions of visitors and dollars for the region. (Photo by Stephanie Irvine)

By Stephanie Irvine

The Village of New Lenox held a groundbreaking ceremony April 22 for its Crossroads Sports Complex, a 100-acre development projected to bring in millions of visitors and revenue.

One of two “legacy projects” approved earlier this year by the village board (the other being the relocation of the popular KidsWork Children’s Museum), the Crossroads complex was named for its close proximity to interstates I-57, I-80, and I-355. Its logo incorporates the town moniker and features a bald eagle.

“We are the ‘Home of the Proud Americans;’ that was very important to us that was a part of our logo, so you can see our great logo that was designed by members of our team,” said Mayor Tim Baldermann at the event.

The complex will have 29 youth baseball or softball fields, or 12 soccer/multi-use fields, a welcome center, beer garden, and concession stands, with construction of a field house to follow.

Although the development is geared toward athletics and regional tournaments, the park district was not involved with the financing or management, but provided valuable insight and input.

“It’s awesome! The mayor has included us in the whole process,” said New Lenox Parks Director Greg Lewis.

“The community needs this. I mean, this is huge for the whole area just to be able to provide more programming and really capture the tax dollars, that’s what it’s about,” Lewis said.

“Although we expect multi-state regional tournaments to be the primary use of the sports complex, especially on weekends, our local sports teams will have first opportunity to rent the sports complex for their practices and games or events on days when tournaments are not in play,” Baldermann said.

He added, “Our park district does a great job of providing fields and parks for recreational sports.”

Of the 100 acres of the sports complex, 10 acres will be dedicated for restaurant, retail and/or hotel use.

The village anticipates a $12 million economic impact in the first year of operation, nearly doubling to $20 million by the third year. Once fully operational, they expect the complex to generate $34 million annually.

One million visitors and athletes are expected to come to the development each year, but combined with Silver Cross campus visitors, the immediate area could see 3 million visitors.

“We did not want the area to be developed with warehouses and trucking, which were the only proposals for the area that were ready to move forward,” Baldermann said in an email.

He further explained the majority of development up and down I-355 is warehouses and trucking, and that the village “wanted something better for our community, especially next to Silver Cross Hospital.”

Baldermann touched on this point at the end of his speech at the event, acknowledging there is a need for warehousing and trucking. The village is not opposed to it, “but not for this site,” noting the proximity to the hospital and the need for free-flowing traffic.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” said Silver Cross Interim President-CEO Michael Mutterer.

“It’s going to be an amazing addition for our patients’ family members, especially patients who are here, maybe with us longer term, having the hotel right here on property, having restaurants, coffee shops, and things like that. It’s going to be a great addition for our patients and families.”

The village stated their research determined a need for a sports complex of this magnitude, as the closest complex is over 100 miles away. Although many developers approached the village, none was able to secure land to complete the project.

“We will see hospitality, retail, commercial. Things that will complement this area and bring in sales tax, that will bring in hotel tax, amusement tax. That’s how we’re going to be able to fund this project. This is a win for our community. It’s a win for the region,” said Baldermann.

The construction of the development will initially be financed through bonds and later paid back through taxes.

Northern Builders, which developed the Cherry Hill Business Park in New Lenox, is handling development construction.

“In addition to overall functionality, this particular project required planning for the visitor and the player experience, which had to include convenience, proximity, safety, and amenities,” said Matt Grusecki of Northern Builders.

Grusecki stated the concrete required for the project is immense and would be the equivalent to pouring concrete across 7.3 football fields. He added the fields would have drainage installed so they could be playable within 10 minutes of a hard rain.

“This project is an investment in our community, and is meant to bring in hotels, restaurants, and other amenities that are more fitting for the area and will provide greater benefit to all of our residents,” Baldermann said.

The event was well-attended. Baldermann praised the New Lenox board of trustees, village staff, park district, Chamber of Commerce, state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-New Lenox, and state Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, saying they all truly care about the area and work as a team for the community.

“The New Lenox community continues to bring resources to their constituents, the parks department, and a complex like this are such good things for the community,” said Joyce.

“We believe that Crossroads will become not only the premier destination for amateur events in the Midwest, but in the country,” said Mike Kelly, Executive Vice President of the Sport Facilities Company, which will manage the facility.

The developer has 13 months to complete the first phase of the project so that the first pitch can be thrown on the baseball fields of the sports complex on schedule. The new facility is slated to open in Spring 2025.

Stephanie Irvine is a freelance reporter.

New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann speaks at the April 22 groundbreaking event for the Crossroads Sports Complex, flanked by Mike Kelly, Executive Vice President of the Sport Facilities Company, and Matt Grusecki of Northern Builders. (Photo by Stephanie Irvine)

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