In need of reassurance? Look no further than a mom. Moms provide the best resource for letting you know when something meets or exceeds their expectations. Or, ahem, doesn’t.
At the Fox Valley Park District’s Stuart Sports Complex – where 31 tournament events, featuring more than 1,750 teams, 3,500 games and 21,000 participants, were held in 2019 – scores of moms unfurled their tents and planted their bag chairs throughout the spring, summer and fall.
“When I’m out in the middle of a grass parking lot, standing there talking to a mom who just got out of a car, saying, ‘I love coming here, this place is always unbelievably well-maintained and it has the best soccer fields, the ball rolls true and the kids love it,’ that’s all I need to hear,” says Aaron Reinhart, the FVPD’s superintendent of golf and field turf. “Even if I was having the worst day in the world, that just made me feel a whole lot better.”
Stuart, which houses 30 full-size soccer fields and eight baseball/softball diamonds among its 380-plus acres, is quickly becoming one of the Midwest’s worst-kept secrets.
And now nationally.
SportsEvents Media Group, the leading industry publication focused exclusively on helping sports event planners produce premium competitions in the United States, recently announced that Stuart Sports Complex has been recognized as a 2020 Readers’ Choice Award winner. Stuart was nominated in the category of “Top 25+ Destinations & Venues for Youth & Amateur Sports” in America.
Sports event professionals were asked to nominate destinations and sports venues they believe display exemplary creativity and professionalism toward the youth and amateur groups they host. According to Sherri Middleton, managing editor at SportsEvents, more than 3,000 votes were cast to name the winners in each category.
“The destinations, venues, industry professionals and events nominated for this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards are truly deserving of this award,” Middleton said. “The Fox Valley Park District and staff at Stuart Sports Complex exhibit a perfect example of excellence in the sports events industry.”
More than 31,500 spectators attended events held at Stuart this year, cheering teams participating in baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, Gaelic football, Camogie and hurling.
Reinhart noted the talent and productivity of 10-12 seasonal staff charged with maintaining and beautifying Stuart throughout the outdoor-athletic season, along with the willingness of the district’s entire Operations team to provide support when called upon, enables the complex to provide a premium tournament experience for players, directors, coaches and spectators.
“It’s all-hands-on-deck,” Reinhart said. “When we’re in need of something that requires assistance, we can always rely on Operations personnel in other areas of the district to answer the bell – and they always come through.”
John Kramer, the FVPD’s director of operations, says that each division of the district’s operations team utilizes technology, innovative ideas and best management practices at all sites “to deliver consistent, safe amenities for our constituents and their guests to enjoy.”
“Stuart specifically focuses on providing outstanding playability by incorporating that into each of those three factors,” said Kramer, noting the district’s GPS-guided, field-lining painters; contractual weather forecasting to make accurate maintenance decisions; and data analysis of soil conditions to utilize plant protectants sustainably “for optimal results during our outdoor athletic season.”
Stuart will be recognized nationally in SportsEvents Magazine’s January 2020 issue.
For more information about Stuart Sports Complex, please visit stuartsportscomplex.org.