$1 million donation helps rally support pushing Meijer Sport Complex project past halfway mark
Officials with the West Michigan Sports Commission say a $1 million gift Meijer served as the catalyst for bringing in more support from other donors,
The fundraising campaign kicked off late 2022 and calls for nearly $11 million.
Commission officials say other donors including the Secchia Family Foundation, DeVos Family Foundations, Jandernoa Foundation, and the UFP Foundation, as well as several others, contributed following Meijer's donation.
Additionally, the Kent County Board of Commissioners allocated $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act.
U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten has also requested $750,000 in Community Project Funding to the House Committee on Appropriations for fiscal year 2024.
The expansion and renovation project will include a new championship softball field for youth, amateur baseball, and collegiate teams, three flexible-use diamond fields, and 20 pickleball courts, as well as other upgrades and additions.
Mike Guswiler is the president of West Michigan Sports Commission. He expressed gratitude for Meijer’s donation and excitement for the opportunity to create parity for women’s sports by adding softball fields.
“Not only is it good business because you can bring in 50% of the population that are women, but have you seen fastpitch softball? It’s an amazing sport so we want to see more of that here and certainly we want to be part of the answer to the challenge," he said.
According to the commission, construction on the project is expected to begin as early as this fall thanks to available funding. The main groundbreaking phase is set to start in early 2024.
This initial phase will include the installation of synthetic turf on the championship baseball field, resurfacing the Miracle Field and adding 300 parking spaces.
Meanwhile, the commission will continue to raise the remaining funds needed through 2023.