Bo Jackson's sports dome to put Bensenville 'on the map'
Former all-star baseball and football player Bo Jackson is the driving force behind a new sports dome coming to Bensenville as the village aims to make itself into an amateur sports destination.
Jackson stopped by the site of the future dome Thursday afternoon near Grand Avenue and County Line Road for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the former Legends golf course.
"To see his name and have him digging dirt with us yesterday -- it's pretty exciting," Bensenville Village Manager Evan Summers said Friday. "Bo Jackson is a sports legend, obviously. He's a hero to a lot of us that grew up watching him."
Jackson's career in baseball brought him to the Chicago White Sox, as well as the Kansas City Royals and the California Angels. As a football player, he won the 1985 Heisman Trophy while in college at Auburn University, then played running back for the Los Angeles Raiders.
In Bensenville, Bo Jackson's Elite Sports is building a 114,000-square-foot dome with a collegiate-style weight room, a 42-foot-tall climbing tower, an 80-yard track and turf fields for training in baseball, softball, football, soccer and lacrosse.
"It's going to be a huge project for us," Summers said. "It will be a net attractor for a lot of people to come to Bensenville and experience Bensenville for us. And having the Bo Jackson name on it obviously will put us on the map."
The dome is anticipated to be complete before the end of the year, Summers said. It's part of a redevelopment project on former village-owned land that originally was a garbage dump before it became a golf course.
When the golf course "went sallow" a few years ago, the village sold the land for $3 million to a developer who took over environmental cleanup efforts and is leasing part of the property to Jackson's Elite Sports for the dome, Summers said.
The site also has a newly opened Holiday Inn hotel, and plans call for new retail buildings to go up along Grand and County Line.
The sports dome itself is expected to employ about 50 people. And it will add to The Edge Ice Arena as the village works to become what Summers describes as an "amateur sports hub."
"This will be going from nothing to a real destination and retail corridor for us," Summers said.