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Costner announces plans for Northern League team

Actor Kevin Costner is working to bring a Northern League team to Illinois’s Zion County for the 2010 season, in a new ballpark funded by the federal economic stimulus plan.Academy Award winner Kevin Costner is working with the city of Zion, Ill. to bring an independent Northern League team to a new ballpark in Lake County in the summer of 2010.

Costner is closely associated with baseball through his starring roles in Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, as well as his advocacy for the preservation of Omaha’s Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. He’s part of a ownership group that has been working with the city and a real-estate developers to bring a Northern League team to a new stadium minutes northeast of Gurnee’s Six Flags Great America and the Gurnee Mills Mall.

“I’ve seen many opportunities over the years to be involved in baseball projects, but this one is really special.” Costner says. “The location, the people involved, and the chance to offer families in Zion and the surrounding communities a quaint and affordable setting for minor league baseball means everything. Like that unforgettable movie line says, ‘This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again.’ Play Ball!”

“This project is shovel ready, will provide 300 permanent jobs, and will be a catalyst to attract and maintain even more jobs in this part of Illinois,” said State Senator Michael Bond (D-Grayslake). Senator Bond chairs the Illinois Strategic Infrastructure Task Force, a bipartisan committee coordinating projects related to the federal economic stimulus plan and an Illinois capital budget.

The Lake County stadium project will be managed and developed by Panattoni Development Company, which has developed over 150 million square feet of major commercial real estate projects throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe in the last 22 years. The baseball team will be owned and operated by Grand Slam Sports & Entertainment, LLC of Deerfield, Ill., which also owns the Schaumburg Flyers in the same circuit.

Details of the ballpark location, design, and financing will be provided by the city and its project partners in the weeks to follow. Advocates are also claiming the new ballpark will create more than 300 permanent jobs.