Expansion of Stuart Sports Complex to begin in spring

By on March 2, 2012

MONTGOMERY—In continuing to keep pace with community growth and the accompanying demand for more athletic fields, the Fox Valley Park District will begin expansion of Stuart Sports Complex this spring.

On Monday, the Montgomery Village Board gave final approval for the plan, paving the way for four new ball fields with lights and 11 new soccer fields to be built. The expansion covers 135 acres at the south end between the current park border and Base Line Road (Route 30).

Community leaders worked closely with various consultants and representatives from local athletic organizations to formulate an expansion plan that would best meet the needs of residents.

“This project is a great example of how communities benefit when public agencies collaborate to work together in the best interests of their residents,” said Nancy McCaul, Fox Valley Park District Executive Director. “The intergovernmental cooperation between the Park District and the Village of Montgomery allowed us to develop a plan that will be implemented quickly and create an even better athletic facility for our communities.”

Of the 11 full-size soccer fields, five would be designated as “flex” fields to be used for a variety of activities. Other highlights of the master plan include:
• A permanent restroom and concession structure near the ball fields and associated parking.
• A 280-vehicle parking lot and drop-off aisle to serve the ball fields and soccer at the northeast area of the site.
• A 320-vehicle parking lot and drop-off aisle to serve the eight soccer/flex fields at the southern area of the site.
• Asphalt paths, primarily around the ball fields.
• Native plantings in areas of storm water management/bioswale areas.
• A 15-acre dog park with a 30-vehicle parking lot.

Stuart Sports Complex currently features 25 full-size soccer fields and four baseball diamonds. A master plan for the expansion was developed following a detailed study by Market and Feasibility Advisors (MFA) to ascertain present athletic field demand. In summary, MFA concluded that within the next five years the District’s athletic field demand can support the addition of four flexible baseball/softball fields and up to 14 soccer fields.

“This master plan will allow the district to address this demand in an efficient and safe manner that provides high-quality athletic fields suitable for extensive in-house league play, affiliate use and potential tournaments,” said Jeff Palmquist, director of planning, development and grants.

The inter-governmental agreement will have far-reaching benefits, said Montgomery Village Manager Anne Marie Gaura.

“This is going to be a huge development for the village and our residents and it’s going to be an economic development driver for the whole area out west of Orchard Road,” said Gaura.

The project is a major component to the District’s 2008 Open Space, Park and Recreation Investment (OSPRI) plan that allocates $8.6 million toward the expansion of the Stuart Sports Complex. Bidding for the project is expected in May, with a bulk of construction work to take place this season and completion by 2013. However, athletic field use will not be available until 2014 to allow turf areas time to grow.