Edwardsburg Sports Complex fundraiser campaign underway

Published 1:15 pm Friday, December 8, 2023

EDWARDSBURG — A local nonprofit is encouraging community members to help it continue its mission to be the place where kids, community and athletics come together.

The ESC, a 501c3 non-profit, wishes to inspire generosity this holiday season by asking for financial support to improve its 102-acre facility. Currently, ESC is raising funds to continue the construction and development of its little league facilities as well as to install directional signage throughout the complex. 

ESC is currently home to organizations including Land Shark Travel Baseball and Softball, Edwardsburg Youth Soccer Association, Edwardsburg Rocket Football and Edwardsburg Little League. The Edwardsburg High School Cross Country course is also on the facility.

The ESC was founded by Ed Patzer in 2005 with the intention of being the home of youth sports in Edwardsburg. It has been building the Little League fields for the last two years. In 2024, three of those fields will be ready for use, and in 2025, Little League activities will move completely over to the sports complex. The additional little league fields ESC plans to build will relieve turf care and scheduling challenges and allow the ESC to bring more young athletes and their families out to the complex. The fields will also increase the ESC’s capacity to host athletic tournaments that will bring teams from all over the region to Edwardsburg. The complex hosted approximately 4,500 athletes in 2023.

“It was his idea that it should all be in one facility so that if families have a kid playing soccer and another kid playing football, they don’t have to go from one location to the other,” said ESC Events Coordinator Patty Patzer.

The ESC aims to keep the league fees as low as possible. To do so, the organization hosts several travel sports tournaments throughout the year including lacrosse, baseball and soccer and are currently booking more for 2024. ESC has pavilions available for rent as event spaces and it also hosted a successful concert series it plans to bring back in 2024.

The complex also hopes to add more playground areas, another baseball and softball quad, a memorial park and possibly a splash pad.

For Patty Patzer, seeing the ESC continue to grow has been rewarding. 

“Sometimes you have to step back because you get so involved in the day-to-day minutia of all the stuff that has to happen that you don’t really realize until you kind of step back and take a look at and realize that you’ve been a part of developing a 102-acre facility,” she said. “On the days when it’s busiest here, especially like a tournament day or a Saturday morning, and you look at all the people that are using this place, it’s pretty rewarding, very rewarding. We have a wonderful staff of people here, too. It’s just a great experience here.”

Patzer added that the ESC would not be able to function without its dedicated volunteers.
We have really great support from volunteers, especially our mowing crew,” she said. “They are mostly retired guys from the area that volunteer their time to mow all our fields.”

To donate, visit the ESC website www.edwardsburgsportscomplex.org, visit on Facebook or Instagram or mail to P. O. Box 193, Edwardsburg, MI 49112, or call (269) 414-4417.