The West Michigan Sports Commission has received a $1 million lead gift by Meijer toward the overall goal for fundraising to expand the Meijer Sports Complex.
The ‘A Winning Streak for West Michigan’ expansion campaign has a current fundraising total to $5.8 million, or 53 percent of its $11 million goal. Based on funding to date, some elements of the project in Grand Rapids could begin in late 2023.
“We are so grateful to Meijer for this generous lead gift, which made it possible for us to reach more than half of our fundraising goal to improve and expand the Meijer Sports Complex,” WMSC President Mike Guswiler said. “Equally important, we were able to leverage that gift when speaking with others in the public and private sectors to demonstrate the importance of the project and motivate others to give.”
The WMSC launched the $11 million campaign in October 2022 to improve and expand its flagship Meijer Sports Complex that opened in 2014. Costing $7.5 million and funded through private donations, the complex has attracted 148 travel events, 7,500 teams and 243,750 visitors, for a total estimated economic impact for Kent County of $52 million.
The renovation and expansion includes a new championship softball field for youth, amateur and collegiate softball featuring synthetic turf, grandstands, lighting, covered dugouts and a press box. There will also be 20 pickleball courts, new concession building, new restroom facility and expanded storage facility, as well as a playground area, canopies over all bleacher seating and 300 additional parking spaces.
“A family company, supporting youth and amateur sports is so important to us because of the joy it brings families,” said Meijer President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Keyes. “That is why we have partnered with the WMSC for more than a decade on everything from the State Games to the naming of this community staple. We’re honored to help the Meijer Sports Complex continue providing a safe place for young people of all abilities to play, now and into the future.”
Guswiler — along with Meijer Regional Vice President Shawn Buckner, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Vice President Nick Davidson, Congresswoman Hillary Scholten, Campaign Ambassador of Baseball and former Detroit Tiger Lance Parrish, WMSC Board Chair Jim Horman, and Campaign Co-Chair Deb Kay — spoke to invited guests at the donor event.
Additionally, $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars was allocated by the Kent County Board of Commissioners and Scholten requested $750,000 in Community Project Funding to the House Committee on Appropriations for fiscal year 2024.