Since Mayor Brad Stephens stepped into office, it is estimated that leisure activities in the Village of Rosemont have increased by 20 percent, according to Bill Anderson, general manager, Rosemont Convention & Tourism Bureau. Not only is Rosemont a destination for tradeshows and conventions, but it is also home to major musical concerts, sports and recreation.
The pride and joy of Mayor Stephens, The Dome at the Ballpark is the largest freestanding inflated dome in the U.S. Dubbed as “the marshmallow,” the 7-story, 172,000 square-foot space is carpeted with turf that can house two full softball fields complete with bleachers.
Mostly occupied in the winter months during the off-season, the multi-purpose dome also holds 24-hour youth baseball and softball tournaments, and sports for local seniors and professional teams, among other activities.
Proud residence of the Chicago Bandits, The Ballpark at Rosemont has been home field to the women’s professional softball team since 2004, having also welcomed the Women’s Professional Championship Series for two years. Created by Bill Conroy and Bill Sokolis, the team has signed several Olympians including Leah O’Brien-Amico, Jaime Clark and Lauren Bay.
The road in front of the sports complex was named in honor of Olympic Gold Medalist and retired Chicago Bandits Professional Softball pitcher Jennie Finch. Combined, the dome and The Ballpark at Rosemont span 11 acres, drawing 30 percent out-of-state business from neighboring states like Indiana and Wisconsin.
Formerly known as the Rosemont Horizon, renowned recording artists regularly perform at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Big names like Elton John, Cher and George Strait bring masses of excited fans from nearby Chicago and other Midwestern cities. With seating for over 18,000, the arena has also welcomed the Harlem Globetrotters and Disney on Ice performances to delight all ages.
The arena participates in Green for a Reason to provide a sustainable venue where patrons help to recycle cups, bottles, cardboard and other materials that would otherwise go to waste. Retrofitting lamps and light fixtures throughout the venue has also reduced energy usage in conjunction with the program.
For show goers, Rosemont Theatre offers Broadway musicals, full-scale productions and world-class entertainers. Within a short driving distance, visitors can wine and dine down the street at MB Financial Park, then enjoy fine arts at the Theatre.
Proving they can be successful on their own, each individual venue has contributed to shaping Rosemont into a tourist destination. Projecting a positive revenue stream for the new year, a rebranding campaign is underway to present the Village with a uniform image.
“We’re all partners. We’re all mutually benefiting the bottom line,” said Mayor Brad Stephens.
Working with Las Vegas-based Virgen Advertising agency, the entire Village of Rosemont will work together in 2014 to launch as a package that includes shopping, dining and shows or events at the Rosemont Theatre and Allstate Arena.
“It’s a battle of the minds in Rosemont,” said Sarah Clemmensen, events manager, MB Financial Park at Rosemont. “We all want the same result; it’s just finding the same approach.”
To its advantage, the Village of Rosemont owns the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont Theatre and Allstate Arena.
Mayor Brad Stephens shared that the Village is making plans to add an eastbound exit ramp to I-294 that leads directly to the outlet mall and entertainment district on Balmoral Avenue with the Convention Center only one block away.
Impeccably green gardens and fauna throughout the suburb, including the interchange at the highway, became the envy of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley while visiting the Village. In an agreement with the state of Illinois, the Village of Rosemont maintains its only landscaping, which typically includes an abundance of fragrant roses.
Just outside the Village is yet another attraction that adds to Rosemont’s allure.
Open since 2011, Rivers Casino, located in Des Plaines, Ill., is the No. 1 grossing casino in the state. Partnered with the owner of the Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas, the original plans were to build the casino on the site of the current MB Financial Park at Rosemont.
Under the mayor’s proposition, profits from gaming would have been split proportionately among the 70 communities within the Village, with more going to areas that are in need.
Complications obtaining a Board of Gaming license caused the project to move one block down the street. Since the casino sits just north of the dividing line between Des Plaines and Rosemont at Devon Avenue, it is not considered to be part of the Village.
“Rosemont enjoys all the benefits of Rivers Casino without the casino itself, which is only 1 mile away,” said Grant Bailey, assistant executive director, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
This opened the opportunity for Rosemont to pursue alternative entertainment options, leading to the highly successful MB Financial Park and the Fashion Outlets of Chicago.