How to Work With Your Park District to Score Big Wins

A Best Practice Approach For Investing in World Class Sports Facilities


FAQs – Investing in Amateur Sports Tournament Hosting Facilities


Presentation Description

Learn how a convention & visitors bureau and its park district have worked together to establish their region as a sports tourism destination. In this session you’ll hear how the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Rockford Park District have worked together to sell, market and host thousands of tournaments over the past 30 years.
Their unique partnership has led to the development of several tournament-ready facilities and programs that serve citizens while attracting visitors. In addition to learning how their win-win partnership works, you’ll get a deep dive into Reclaiming First – the recent initiative that brought local governments in the Rockford, Illinois region together to plan, design, finance, build and program $55+ million award winning amateur sports tournament facilities that created a direct economic development benefit of more than $15M per year.


Paul S. Nicolosi
Lead Consultant for the $55M+ million award winning Reclaimingfirst! Project. Mr. Nicolosi has more than 25 years of experience helping local governments and private sector stakeholders (hotel operators, developers and other support industries) achieve economic development initiatives which lead to large scale tourism, transportation, and industrial projects. Mr. Nicolosi has served on the National League of City’s CityFutures Panel on Public Finance and is a resent past member the Illinois Tax Increment Association executive committee.
Tim Dimke
As the director of a regionally independent Park District, Tim knows how to build coalitions with local government leaders. In his more than 40 years of experience, Tim has led the conception, funding, construction and programming of new facilities totaling more than $100M. These facilities have included a water park, a conservatory, a nationally ranked golf club, ice arena, adventure park, and, most recently, the region’s award winning Reclaiming First! amateur sports tournament hosting facilities. 
Tim’s work has earned him broad recognition and prestigious honors such as Lifetime Achievement Awards and Professional of the Year Award from Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Association of Park Districts, and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association.
John Groh
John Groh, CDME, has been president/CEO of the Rockford (IL) Area CVB since 2009. John is responsible for growing the region’s economy by overseeing the marketing of Illinois’ second largest metro region. Working alongside local partners, John co-lead an effort to retain, regain and grow the impacts of sports tourism by developing and implementing a $60 million master sports infrastructure facility plan, dubbed Reclaiming First. Within the industry, he serves on the executive boards of the Destination & Travel Foundation and the Illinois Council of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.


Useful Links

NASC 2017 Sports Event Symposium Presentation
Sample Economic Development Case & Plan for Sports Tourism
Reformative Economic Development through Regional Collaboration



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