The West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) is partnering with Celebration Cinema to bring a new sport to West Michigan – and there’s a good chance you know very little about it.
Art Van Sports Complex Hits Homerun with Opening
After seven years of planning and two years of construction, it’s hard to believe that the Art Van Sports Complex has now been open for business for a little over a month already. And so far, it’s been a homerun, starting with the kick-off weekend Aug. 1-3 with a Donor Appreciation Night, followed by a Game Day All-Star event presented by DeMarini Sports, Inc. And the momentum continues this fall with public events like an MSU Men’s Baseball game Sept. 13, plus a charity softball event Sept. 24. And that’s only looking at the 2014 calendar!
At the Aug. 1 kick-off event, more than 1,000 people toured the facility as 12 teams participated in games, including the West Michigan Miracle League; and 100 baseball players participated in a clinic hosted by Game Day USA. The evening was highlighted by parachuters dropping in and delivering the first-pitch baseball to the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation Championship Field as the crowd looked on.
The opening weekend also kicked off our very first tournament, as Game Day USA hosted their end-of-season All Star weekend for boys ages 8-14, with 250 boys from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana participating in beautiful weather.
If you haven’t been out to the Art Van Sports Complex yet, I encourage you to check us out, including during a couple of special public events hosted this fall. First, the complex is hosting a public grand opening with a Michigan State University men’s baseball team intersquad scrimmage on our championship field Saturday, Sept. 13 at 1:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The MSU baseball team also will participate with West Michigan Miracle League players at 12 – 12:30 p.m. that day.
On Wednesday Sept. 24, the Art Van Complex will host a Charity Softball event with the VETSports Wounded Warrior Softball Team vs. “Grand Rapids’ Bravest and Finest” – our Grand Rapids Police and Fire Departments. Support our nation’s heroes for the second year in a row while also giving to a good cause, since VETSports will donate a portion of funds to DeVos Children's Hospital Oncology Department. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for kids, active-duty military and veterans.
Our fall season will wrap up with two more events in October, with organizations coming in to run fall baseball and softball tournaments.
One more bit of good news - we will soon announce our weekday slow pitch league schedule and affiliation. The Art Van Complex will run adult slow-pitch leagues and youth/adult baseball leagues Monday through Thursday in the spring and summer, and a weekday fall slow pitch softball league for adults. Stay tuned at www.artvansportscomplex.com for more details.
Needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind first month since the Art Van Sports Complex opened to “play ball,” and we are excited for 2015 – in fact, we have already booked 22 of our 27 weekends! See the full tournament schedule here, and check back regularly as we continue adding events and tournaments.
If you’re looking for ways to get involved in the complex, we’re still fundraising in order to support the construction of Phase 2, which will include four more baseball/softball fields with a supporting concession and restroom building, a championship softball field with press box, and warm-up areas and picnic shelters.
Also, consider purchasing a commemorative brick for you or a family member, friend or colleague – it’s a great way to leave a legacy at this complex that will touch thousands of lives! Contact the West Michigan Sports Commission at 616-233-3560 for information about making a brick purchase.
Thanks to our wonderful community for helping us realize the opening of this stunning championship complex – we couldn’t have done it without you!
As we prepare for 2020, I’d like to take a moment to review 2019 – it was another great year for youth and amateur sports in West Michigan!
Art Van Sports Complex won bids to host the USA Softball Men’s Open East Fast Pitch and Class D Slow Pitch national tournaments in 2020 and 2021!