St. Elizabeth’s Hospital partners with O’Fallon to enhance park system
O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham said, “It’s all about the kids,” as he accepted a $225,000 sponsorship from HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital while standing on a soccer field Tuesday afternoon at the O’Fallon Family Sports Park.
St. Elizabeth’s, which is constructing a new hospital in O’Fallon, will be the exclusive health care system sponsor of O’Fallon Parks and Recreation for the next five years.
Graham said the sponsorship will improve the quality of life for all residents by helping fund different programs.
The city of O’Fallon, Graham said, launched a program in December called “Partners in the Park” in an effort to engage community businesses and organizations to help provide non-tax revenue to support maintenance of the parks and program expansion.
St. Elizabeth’s sponsorship will help offset some of the costs of the city’s initiative to bring 8-10 more soccer fields to the Family Sports Park with its Destination O’Fallon project and help fund the more than 600 programs, sports leagues and camps offered by the city’s parks and recreation department each year.
“As we begin construction of the new all weather soccer and baseball fields as part of Destination O’Fallon this spring, this partnership with St. E’s will ensure that we can continue to provide a one-of-a-kind experience at the park for our residents and attract more revenue generating tournaments,” Graham said.
The additional funding will also aid in improving and maintaining the walking/running path at the 200-acre Family Sports Park that draws more than 500,000 visitors annually, according to city officials.
Graham said the new $300 million replacement St. Elizabeth’s medical campus and facility off Green Mount Road will be a “tremendous asset.”
“In 2017, O’Fallon is poised to have an influx of over 250,000 visitors as the new $300 million state-of-the-art HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital opens,” Graham said.
In 2017, O’Fallon is poised to have an influx of over 250,000 visitors as the new $300 million state-of-the-art HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital opens.
O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham
Peggy Sebastian, president of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, said the new facility opening in the fall is just the beginning.
“As we prepared for our expansion into the community of O’Fallon, we thought about the wonderful partnership we already had with the city of O’Fallon and the importance that we feel that the Family Sports Park really plays,” Sebastian said. “So the city has invested in all of us and the community and, in turn, as we watched what Mayor Graham and the city leaders have done, we realized we wanted to make that investment too. So we’re really excited for this partnership and feel it’s a symbol of excellence in the region.”
A portion of the funds will be used to support the O’Fallon Mighty Ball soccer and baseball leagues that teach the basics of both sports to more than 1,500 athletes ages 3 to 5 annually.
The wonderful tournaments we have here, not just the services that come to the communities surrounding O’Fallon, but all the communities that travel to O’Fallon for tournaments — what a wonderful specimen of caring and healing that happens here in the community.
Peggy Sebastian, HSHS St. E’s president
Sebastian said St. Elizabeth’s looks forward to the future of the park.
“The wonderful tournaments we have here, not just the services that come to the communities surrounding O’Fallon, but all the communities that travel to O’Fallon for tournaments — what a wonderful specimen of caring and healing that happens here in the community,” Sebastian said.
St. Elizabeth’s will also become the official Mobile Sports Medicine Provider during soccer tournaments to aid in on-site injuries, she said. There are 29 tournaments scheduled for 2017 so far.
Tournaments held at the sports park generate $5.1 million in economic impact to the city, according to Graham.
“Once the fields are finished, it’s been projected that the revenue coming from those events could exceed $10 million easily,” he said.
I think you’ll see a lot of teams from outside communities coming in, so it could affect many hundreds of teams across the Midwest.
Denny Sheehan, KIXX United FC director of coaching
O’Fallon native Denny Sheehan, the director of KIXX United FC, is one of the 300 members who will use the new all-weather turf fields.
“I think you’ll see a lot of teams from outside communities coming in, so it could affect many hundreds of teams across the Midwest,” Sheehan said.
Bre Taylor, of O’Fallon, has three kids involved in O’Fallon Parks & Recreation programs, and her daughter Avery, 3, plays with KIXX.
“We’re really excited, and actually my husband works for the St. E’s in Belleville right now, and so he’s really looking forward to this too,” Taylor said.