Westfield marks Grand Park’s 10th anniversary with 30-minute documentary

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The new Indy Eleven youth academies will be based at Grand Park in Westfield.

Westfield’s Grand Park Sports Campus will turn 10 years old in June, and the city commemorated the coming anniversary with a 30-minute documentary telling the history of the youth sports campus.

The city used $30,000 from its Grand Park promotional fund for the documentary called “We Field Champions” that was produced by Noblesville-based filmmaker Cameron Sprinkle.

“Grand Park is known for sports, but the Grand Park story is really about people,” Sprinkle said in written remarks. “People who dreamed, people who doubted, people who persevered, and people who now get to have powerful human experiences in a wonderful place as a result. It’s a great story, and I’m excited for people to see it.”

Chris Proffitt, a spokesperson for the city, told IBJ that Westfield and Grand Park officials began brainstorming the idea for a documentary this spring. Sprinkle spent about five months this year producing the film.

Sprinkle interviewed about a dozen people, including Mayor Andy Cook, developers Steve Henke and Birch Dalton, Indianapolis Colts General Manager Chris Ballard, Grand Park Director Matt Trnian and area residents.

“We met with [Sprinkle] several times about our vision and what we were looking for and what he thought would be the best way to approach this,” Proffitt said. “We did it together, and we’re very pleased with the outcome.”

The city hosted a screening of the documentary Tuesday at Grand Park Events Center. Proffitt said the city is looking at how to distribute the film online. He said the city will use clips of the film for promotional and public relations purposes.

“Because it’s such a community asset and it is recognized coast-to-coast, we felt it was appropriate to demonstrate the success [of Grand Park] and really then going back to it, the obstacles that were in the way and the obstacles that were overcome and what it’s become for Westfield,” Proffitt said.

The 400-acre Grand Park Sports Campus opened in June 2014 after an $85 million public investment. The sports campus has 31 soccer fields, 26 baseball diamonds, two administration buildings, seven concession stands and a 378,000-square-foot multi-use event center. The Indianapolis Colts moved their annual summer training camp to the park in 2018.

Grand Park attracted 3.5 million visitors in 2022, according to the city.

In March 2022, Westfield announced it was seeking proposals from companies interested in either purchasing Grand Park or operating it through a public-private partnership. Last March, the city announced it was no longer interested in selling Grand Park but would instead look for a new operator.

The city is currently negotiating with an unidentified company to operate Grand Park. Cook, who will leave office Jan. 1 after four terms as mayor, told IBJ this week that he hopes to make an announcement about a deal with the company by the end of the year.

Incoming Mayor Scott Willis told IBJ in October the city and the new Grand Park operator will need to add more winter events to the campus’s calendar. Grand Park is already busy in the spring, summer and fall, and beefing up the winter calendar would benefit city hotels and restaurants.

A five-day pickleball tournament scheduled at the Grand Park Events Center for early January is expected to draw more than 5,000 visitors.

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