St. Ambrose University's plans to build a new stadium and sports complex have drawn vocal opposition from neighbors, but now, supporters of the proposed stadium are ready to fight back.
The university wants to build a sports complex around the St. Vincent’s property off West Central Park Avenue, next to Assumption High School. The site currently holds a softball field, two practice soccer/football fields, and a competition soccer field.
SAU hopes to upgrade the softball field and two practice fields, and build a 2,500-seat stadium with a 400-meter track, shot put/discus area, and parking for 575 cars.
Since January, University leaders have been meeting with neighbors about the plans. Many have posted red signs that read “No SAU Stadium” in their yards surrounding the 45-acre site.
"It comes to the point where I think we agree to disagree," neighbor Jim Welch told News 8 in January. "They could have their dream complex in, say, the northwest area of our city."
Now, St. Ambrose alum Pete Ivanic is hoping to change the conversation.
"I kinda got tired of seeing all the red signs throughout the neighborhood. The concerned citizens, I think, were taking a little too much of the story away from the big picture," said Ivanic.
Ivanic says the "big picture" is that St. Ambrose athletes deserve a home field advantage. He believes the University needs its own fields to be successful and grow, and that coaches need the facilities to aid in recruiting high school students.
"Some of them have top-notch facilities, so it's awfully tough for the coaches at St. Ambrose to get the kids here without those benefits," said Ivanic.
A Facebook page called "SAU Stadium Yes" already has nearly 2,300 'likes,' proving, Ivanic says, that the stadium has just as many fans as opponents.
"It means the world. These kids deserve it," said Ivanic. "I think that's the overall goal, to give them a place where we can be successful on the field."
A support meeting is planned for Monday, March 31, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rogalski Center ballroom. University leaders plan to take the proposal to the Davenport Planning and Zoning Commission in May.