Consultant: Community has room for new sports venues

Sports Complex Evan
Evan Eleff, chief operating officer of Clearwater, Florida-based Sports Facilities Advisory, seen here conducting a question and answer session with community leaders at One Normal Plaza. (Photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – McLean County is not overly saturated with places for people to play sports, according to a top executive of the consulting firm determining if a multi-sports complex for the area makes economic sense.

“So far, what we know is that we don’t think that there are very many truly saturated assets in this market, that there’s still room for new facilities to service the growth and the current events that are happening,” said Evan Eleff, chief operating officer for Clearwater, Florida-based Sports Facilities Advisory.

However, Eleff said there are bigger questions to be answered such as the cost of developing and operating the venue.

Eleff said he’s also studying potential sites.

“What we’ve seen is lots of really good infrastructure, really good access points to several different parts of the town, a good spread of hotels and restaurants and the other things that will be important to people who come here and visit,” Eleff said.

He said the report, to be completed this summer, can be used as a marketing tool to attract private investment, which local leaders say would be necesssary because of the cost.

Bloomington and Normal governments and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau are sharing the $47,000 cost of the study.

Eleff said his firm determines potential projects as not feasible about 30 percent of the time.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…