stadelman0301Since 2007, Rockford's amateur sports tournaments have dropped 11 percent annually, resulting in $1.4 million loss for the region each year. In an effort to turn this downward trend around, local economic development and city planners, elected officials, business owners, and labor leaders collaborated on a proposal that would not only bring back Rockford's declining sports tournaments, but expand our resources to make Rockford the amateur sports tournament capital of the Midwest.

The plan will transition the former Ingersoll building into a riverside indoor sports complex, while making improvements to Sportscore One and Two. The project, Reclaiming First, was introduced in December 2011 and has rallied support from across Winnebago County and the surrounding area.

The best selling point of the Reclaiming First proposal is that the majority, if not all, of the estimated $37.5 million needed in funding for the new project would come from non-local sources, including grants, charitable contributions and state funding.

My first initiative as the new state senator is to make sure that this project gets the jump start it needs from Springfield. Senate Bill 1859, my first piece of legislation, allows Winnebago County to impose a two percent tax on hotel stays. It is estimated that this new tax, which would be shouldered by out-of-town visitors, would generate $13 million for the Reclaiming First project. Currently in the City of Rockford, hotel guests pay a 12 percent tax at checkout, but surrounding areas like Peoria and Galesburg have a 13 percent tax, and Chicago has a 16.4 percent tax.

I will keep you updated on the progress of Senate Bill 1859 as the spring session continues. To track the legislation, please click here.

Reclaiming First has an in-depth PDF presentation available on its website that gives both a visual and written picture of the benefits of the proposed plan. To see the presentation, please click here. Also, you can visit for more information and updates.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 34th District
121B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8022
District Office:
200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7557