Bettplex breaks ground on regional sports complex in Bettendorf

BETTENDORF -

Heavy equipment in action on Wednesday, July 5, symbolizes the start of Bettplex construction.

The regional sports center along the Interstate 80 corridor could be hosting its first games in about a year.

"It's pleasing, and yet, a little nerve-wracking because we want to get it done," said developer Doug Kratz.

Kratz pitched the idea for the $57-million project after researching other regional sports centers around the country.  Now, he's taking that idea and making it a reality.

"We asked a lot of other people that run these facilities what they would do differently," Kratz continued.  "What we were pleasantly surprised to find out is that a lot of what they told us they'd do differently, we had already accounted for in our planning," he continued.

Youngsters and adults from local teams joined Kratz and city officials to break ground on the project.  The site and location should attract a variety of teams and tournaments nearly every weekend of the year.

"They're looking for another central area around here," said Larry Miller, president of the Quad City Pickleball Club.  "We are right in the middle of that.  This is a great opportunity for pickleball here."

Bettplex will offer year-round activities on its 78-acre site.  The competitions should also spark demand for amenities like a hotel and restaurants nearby.

Bettendorf, which is offering TIF incentives, plans to make its money from the tourism.

"We will have thousands of visitors to the Quad Cities each and every weekend," said Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher.  "We all win with this type of development."

This is all about the future of regional sports in the Quad Cities.  Construction is already moving along on schedule.

"It'll be exciting," said Kratz.  "I just hope we're not fully exhausted to the point where we won't enjoy it.  But it will be a wonderful thing."

For athletes and fans, a wonderful Bettplex that's preparing for all the action.