CROWN POINT | What started as a plea from a youth soccer coach may finally land a long-awaited indoor athletics dome in the Crown Point sports complex.
"The soccer coach said can you build me a dome," where kids can practice year round, said Tae'Ni Chang-Stroman, a pediatrician with a practice in Dyer. His four children all play soccer.
The more Chang-Stroman and his wife, Jacqueline Chang-Stroman, looked into it, "the more we realized it was doable," he said.
The Crown Point couple, through their CS Sports Group, are proposing a 120,000-square-foot dome costing just under $4 million to occupy space at the city owned sports complex on North Street. The couple said the dome could be in place by the fall if plans go as expected.
CS Sports Group would finance the project 100 percent, said Jeff Ban, of the Crown Point firm DVG, who spoke on behalf of the Chang-Stromans.
A letter of intent defining the framework of an arrangement with the city to lease space in the sports complex for the dome was approved Monday by the Redevelopment Commission.
Further city approvals will be sought as the project goes through the planning process, said John Terpstra, a lawyer representing the Chang-Stromans.
Talk of an indoor dome at the sports complex had halted in recent years after plans fell through for a Bo Jackson indoor sports facility at the site.
Plans unveiled in early 2010 called for a nearly 155,600-square-foot dome similar to one in place at the Bo Jackson Elite Sports facility in Lockport, Ill. The $13.6 million cost of the project was to be paid from a $3.4 million investment from Bo Jackson Elite Sports and a combination of private funds.
Plans for the dome fell through, but since then more than $7 million of city redevelopment dollars, private donations and a combination of other funding has been invested in improving the 95-acre sports complex including the installation of new outdoor football/soccer and softball fields.
The dome proposed by CS Sports Group would be focused on youth sports and would be the size of a regulation international soccer field with room enough for two softball games to be played at the same time, the couple said.
Jacqueline Chang-Stroman said Monday the couple had been talking with city officials for more than a year on the concept for the dome.
"We truly are doing this as a community project," she said.
The facility would also attract youth sports participants from outside the city, the couple said.
"We just knew if we could build this in Crown Point, people would come from all over, especially from Illinois," Tae'Ni Chang-Stroman said.