CROWN POINT — Officials on Thursday dedicated the new Crown Point Sportsplex to a backdrop of boys practicing football for the weekend’s games.

Mayor David Uran said the facility was made possible by a collaboration of many entities, including the city, the Barbara and Dean White Family Foundation Inc. and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky.

“This is about giving our kids a competitive edge … a foundation for success,” Uran said.

The facility was funded with revenues from the $1.1 million sale of the city-owned Breyfogle farm, extension of $1.5 million in expiring bond funds and a $1.1 million donation from the Barbara and Dean White Family Foundation. Improvements to 109th Avenue were funded through a grant obtained by Visclosky. Uran said the work was done at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The football and soccer fields are phase one of the project. Uran said plans include an enclosed facility to make the site usable throughout the year.

“It is still our goal to make this facility a 12-month facility,” Uran said.

Bruce White, who spoke on behalf of the foundation, said the site “has played a major role in our family.” His father coached football there and he both played and coached. White said to see the field and the program come so far means a great deal.

“I want to be the first one to tell my dad to support the next phase of the project,” White said.

Speros Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, said Crown Point is moving forward and that projects like the Sportsplex position it to benefit from the economic growth it creates.

He likened in Crown Point to Indianapolis in the early 1970s when that city focused on becoming the state’s leader in amateur athletics. Facilities such as the Sportsplex are an economic driver that helps boost the tourism industry, fill hotel rooms and bring tourist dollars to the region.

For 10-year-olds Jack Mumaugh and Kyle Martin, and their Crown Point youth Soccer coach Bill Martin, Kyle’s dad, the Sportsplex is simply a welcome place to call home.

“This is the first time we’ve had a home field,” Bill Martin said. In past year’s the teams would bounce around the city playing in open spaces at Franciscan St. Anthony Health and various churches and schools.

Kyle said playing on a soccer field — one that has been leveled and is intended for play — will be a lot better than playing in fields full of bumps and dips.

“It’s cool,” Kyle said.

“With the new fields the ball rolls well,” Jack said.

Keith Stevens, chief of staff, said the Sportsplex is only the second facility to install this particular cutting edge turf. The other field is that of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

The cement and asphalt that make up the parking lot and some of the grounds are also state of the art pervious materials that work as detention ponds. Rainwater drains through the surfaces to the lateral storm drains.

See more at the Post Tribune