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Community First Champion Center a ‘testament to cooperation’

New sports facility expected to boost tourism

November 25, 2019

Families near and far have much to celebrate as the Fox Cities opened the new Community First Champion Center to rave reviews and almost a full slate of events.

“I was absolutely wowed by the facility and the attention to detail put in by Miron Construction, Performa and the project team,” said Tim Hoff, Community First’s Senior VP of Business Services. “From spectators to the athletes, coaches and referees, they thought of everyone and their needs.”

The 164,000-square-foot facility is expected to provide an $8 million boost to the local economy through tourism from the start, growing to $12 million within five years. It has already booked nearly 50 events, including tournaments for basketball, volleyball, hockey, figure skating, wrestling, gymnastics, team handball and futsal and will also offer opportunities for community-based leagues, open recreational time, rentals, camps and clinics.

Officials from communities across the Fox Cities, representatives of the Fox Cities Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and local business officials involved in helping to make the facility happen gathered recently to celebrate at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Community First is a cooperative and what that means is we all rise together,” said President-CEO Cathie Tierney. “The success of our company has come through that element of people pooling their resources to help one another. This project is a testament to cooperation.”

In deciding to invest as the title sponsor, Cathie applauded the cooperation of the 10 municipalities who banded together to support the additional room tax needed to fund the $30 million multi-sport tournament and practice complex that promises to draw visitors to the Fox Cities. The wide-ranging support from local governments was “a big plus” in the eyes of Community First’s volunteer board of directors’ support of the project.

“We do a lot in the community – that’s who we are and what we’re all about on behalf of our 140,000 member-owners,” Cathie said. “We want to contribute to the quality of life in the communities where our members live and work.”

Pam Seidl, executive director of the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, called it a “once in a generation tourism facility. We are grateful for the financial support of our municipal partners in bringing this project to reality.”

Grand Chute Town Chairman David Schowalter said the cooperation was needed “to pull off something this spectacular. We all pulled together on the PAC (Fox Cities Performing Arts Center) and the Fox Cities Exhibition Center and now this Community First Champion Center.”

For a tour of the new sports facility with permanent and convertible ice rinks and hardwood courts, watch this Miron Construction video from the Nov. 20 dedication.

Here are links to some of the recent media coverage of the Community First Champion Center: