Apr 20, 2023

American State Bank Sports Complex recognized at "Spirit of Community" awards

This article was originally published in the April 19, 2023 issue of Sioux Center News and was written by Renee Wielenga, reporter.

A spirit of volunteerism and public service remains alive and well in Sioux Center, and the Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce celebrated those virtues at its annual Spirit of Community Awards night. The ceremony, co-hosted with the city, was held Friday, April 14, at the Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center.

A Spirit of Community Award went to three men who made up the American State Bank Sports Complex vision and planning team. They were Howard Wilson, who is vice president for university operations at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Dordt's athletics director Ross Douma, and Sioux Center's city manager Scott Wynja.

"There was a need in our community for additional turf space," said Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce CEO Barb Den Herder in her opening remarks about this team.

She noted that the demand on the current football field was increasing greatly and the community was seeing growth in diversity and in recreation program attendance from youth to adult. Also, the No. 1 need noted in the 2018 community parks survey was the need for more indoor space.

"After the city leadership supported and endorsed this project, a team was formed and worked together in researching other facilities," Den Herder said. "Ross, Howard, and Scott along with other members of our community began learning from other communities what worked and didn't work. They visioned about what our community needed now and into the future and planned for future growth. This amenity in our community is another shining example of public / private partnership.

"As a community, we are already feeling the significant economic impact that this facility is having on our businesses," Den Herder said.

She highlighted that softball teams from all over the GPAC have requested to play games in the space, high school soccer league and fast pitch softball leagues from Sioux City also seek time in the dome. The facility has also hosted softball tournaments with eight teams and more than 250 spectators.

"These guests spend money in our gas stations, hotels, and restaurants," she said. "And the other win: they get to see a bit of Sioux Center's amazing story."

Den Herder added that it's way more than just sports teams who are enjoying and celebrating this space. A local church had more than 400 of its members enjoying time together, it has sold more than 50 walking passes and, during open turf times, more than 100 parents and children can be seen enjoying the space.

"I believe that what makes a community strong is the ability to 'experience community' together," she said. "We see that happening organically at Casey's Bakery, kids playing in the parks, people walking on the trails.

"And now we have another venue for that to happen, where public school and Christian school kids can play together, where cultures blend and where kids are only limited by their own creativity.

"I believe we have only just scratched the surface of the economic and community impacts we will experience with this facility. Please join me in thanking Ross, Howard, and Scott for their leading roles in planning and visioning for this complex."

Wilson spoke on behalf of the trio after they accepted their awards, saying "Spaces like this are not accomplished without overcoming obstacles...Today we have a great facility in our community. Thanks for the recognition of this partnership."

About Dordt University

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers