Indoor sports complex could be game changer for Bettendorf

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Tuesday, the Bettendorf City Council voted to apply for state funding to help build a nearly $200 million business park, hotel, retail center, and indoor sports complex.

Developer Todd Raufeisen plans to build the complex on a 117-acre site known as "Spencer Creek" near the intersection of Interstate 80 and Middle Road in Bettendorf. Artist's renderings of the development show space for ice hockey, basketball, tennis, soccer, swimming, and multi-purpose buildings.

"It's a game changer, we think," said Steve VanDyke, Bettendorf's director of economic development.

VanDyke said the Spencer Creek project has the potential to attract well-educated, young adults to the Quad Cities.

"We'd like to give a reason for younger people, coming out of school, to want to live in our region," said VanDyke.

Leaders say the indoor sports complex would also attract out-of-town visitors to the region for large-scale tournaments and competitions.

Cari Winter is a coach and the owner of Elite Tumbling Academy and Elite Cheer Force. While the teams currently practice at a facility in Rock Island, Winter said the girls must travel to places like Chicago, Des Moines, and the Wisconsin Dells for nearly all of their competitions.

Winter hopes to soon host a regional competition in the Quad Cities, but she says there are very few venues large enough to rent.

"If it's something at a high school, Wisconsin is not going to come, Indiana is not going to come. Iowa and Illinois clubs will -- that's about it," said Winter. "What I'm looking into is Black Hawk College, right now. But if there were something else, right in the heart of the Quad Cities, I'd be there."

Winter says the larger competitions are much better because they bring in more teams, more spectators, and more exposure.

"For me to venture out and have more competitions, it will be a lot easier if this place [Spencer Creek] is what we think it could be. A multi-sports complex? I would definitely use it," said Winter.

Construction on the Spencer Creek development could begin as soon as next year. Raufeisen hopes to have it completed by 2016.