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WOOD RIVER - The Sports Barn development close to I-255 and Illinois Route 143 continues to get closer to reality. Today, featured are extraordinary overhead views of the construction site by 618 Drone Service.

The new facility will be a 37,500-square-foot structure and provide batting cages, pitching development, a turf infield, and much more inside the facility for training baseball and softball players. Now, baseball and softball players will be able to train locally at a state-of-the-art facility in Wood River, which is near Edwardsville, Alton, Roxana, Bethalto, East Alton, and all the neighboring cities.

Wood River Mayor Tom Stalcup has said that the Illinois Gators and Gators Baseball Academy - a baseball and softball club for ages 6 to 18 - will be the prime occupants of the new facility.

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“The Sports Barn has a present location in Wentzville, Missouri,” Stalcup said previously. “The Gators are trying to expand their market and feel they have a lot of kids already from this area and this will just expand their market. This is huge for Wood River.”

The mayor has also said numerous times that the Sports Barn will likely lead to other major businesses locating in Wood River. Wood River has been in talks with a company that would have turf fields where tournaments could be held in Wood River.

"The new Sports Barn will provide such a draw to the area," Stalcup said. "It should not take them too long to have the Sports Barn up and running. Things are going fast already with the construction."

Wood River City Administrator Steve Palen said he is very thankful for the new facility to be located in the city.

"It will provide a lot of foot traffic here in Wood River for people to bring their kids," he said. "Sometimes, they will go shopping and visit restaurants to pick up food. It will be nice to have the new Midwest Petroleum business located close to it and it has done well from the start. Any time you increase foot traffic in your city to businesses, that is a good thing."

Mayor Stalcup said hotel franchises and other restaurants continue to be in contact with Wood River about location out near the I-255 area and the new Sports Barn and Midwest Petroleum locations.

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