For release October 4, 2017:
The Edwardsburg Sports Complex has broken ground on four of its eight proposed baseball/softball fields thanks to a five-year field use commitment by the Indiana Land Sharks travel baseball club. The agreement, signed in late August, grants the Land Sharks exclusive use of the fields for team training throughout the week and promises the Complex two tournament weekends hosted by the Land Sharks each year.
The Indiana Land Sharks started with one team in the mid-1990s as the travel baseball program for The School of Hard Knocks training facility. The travel club was rejuvenated in 2008, and has grown to have 25 teams ages 7-17 years for its upcoming season. Jim Robinson, a co-owner of the Land Sharks, says that having dedicated field space will allow the club to make huge improvements in practice scheduling and structure for their club families.
Excavation has started on all four fields, with the timeline of the agreement designating two fields ready for play in fall of 2018, and an additional two fields ready for play in fall of 2019. Funding for the project will come from individual and corporate donations as well as a portion of the Land Sharks’ player fees.
“With an anticipated cost of $1 million and no groups committed to using the baseball facilities, we had put construction of baseball fields on the back burner for now,” says Jennifer Mackling, Executive Director of the Edwardsburg Sports Complex. “Having the Land Sharks come to the table and be excited about our project was enough fuel to get the construction started. Without their commitment, collaboration, and enthusiasm, this wouldn’t be happening in our community right now.”
With an estimated 70 percent of Land Sharks families coming from Indiana communities, Robinson anticipates the weekly Land Sharks practices will bring many benefits to the Edwardsburg area. “You’re going to have 300 or more families who may have never been to your community now having a dedicated two hours every single week that they are going to be here,” says Robinson. “We find local eateries, gas stations, convenience stores, and the like see an immediate impact.”
The opportunity for baseball events as an economic driver is just one of the ways the Sports Complex intends to serve the Edwardsburg area. Mackling has already begun conversations regarding mid-scale tournaments with hotel and tourism groups as well as sports production companies from throughout the region. So far, the Complex has received nothing but excited responses for the partnership with the Land Sharks and the construction of baseball and softball.
“We’ve got a very fast-growing travel organization with a goal to promote high school athletes, teaming up with what we feel could be the best athletic complex in the area, and that’s only going to be good for everybody,” says Robinson. “The first time we host a tournament and cars start pulling in here from Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Warsaw, and Fort Wayne, the secret is going to be out, and that’s when [the project] is going to take off.”
For more information about making a donation or getting involved with construction efforts at the Complex, visit www.EdwardsburgSportsComplex.org or call the Complex office at 269-414-4417.
Want to make a gift? You can send a check by mail to the Complex at PO Box 193, Edwardsburg, MI, 49112.
Our 3rd Annual Holiday Auction will be raising funds for construction of the baseball/softball fields. Get reminders and auction item sneak-peeks by clicking here to join our event on Facebook.