Turning Elgin into one of the largest softball venues in the state has become one of Elgin City Council’s top priorities during the next five years and is a goal that moved one step closer with the announcement today that the Chicago Bandits will move the team and its operations to Elgin next summer.
“Elgin is thrilled to bring professional softball to the City,” said Elgin Mayor Ed Schock. “We’re excited to see this build into something much larger.”
Creating a softball venue attractive to professional teams has been something Elgin considered for more than a year. With the Bandits seeking a new home, the City believed it was an opportunity to meet a long-term goal.
“We’re very interested in building Elgin into a regional sports center and believe we can do that with the Bandits softball team,” said Schock. “We evaluated their short and long-terms goals while taking into consideration the City’s own goals and saw some tremendous opportunities.”
For the both the short and long-term, the Bandits needed space.
“To accommodate the Bandit’s short-term space needs, Judson University was chosen,” said Schock.
“It provided a convenient location.”
The City plans to provide Judson University with $350,000 to upgrade its fields to accommodate the Bandits next summer.
The City began its official affiliation with softball this past summer by hosting the Regional Senior Softball Tournament in August. More than 84 teams and 6,000 people from around the Midwest came to Elgin before tournament winners headed to Las Vegas, NV for the equivalent of the senior softball Olympics.
“Fast pitch softball is of great interest to people,” said Schock. “Last year, Elgin was the host city for nearly 36,000 people here for various fast pitch tournaments. We think we’re fulfilling a niche.”
Conveniently located between Rockford and Chicago, Elgin is one of the fastest growing cities in the state. With more than 105,000 residents, Elgin prides itself on providing some of the best city services in Kane County – including recreation services, and provides more than 50 parks and 10 facilities for citizens.