Sudbury

Sports bubble one step closer to game day, Fabio Belli Foundation says

It’s getting close to game day for the Fabio Belli Foundation, and the sports bubble its been trying to get built for awhile.

Foundation says bubble will be a ‘catalyst’ for kids’ health

Dino Moretta, chair of the Fabio Belli Foundation, outside the construction site of the future sports bubble. (Casey Stranges/ CBC)

It's getting closer to game day for the Fabio Belli Foundation.

Construction on a multi-user sports bubble at Lasalle Secondary School is underway. It was a project that the late Belli, a Sudbury city councillor pushed for before his death in 2014.

Foundation chair Dino Moretta said it's a proud day for the foundation's "flagship."

"This is why the foundation was started, to keep Fabio's legacy alive...to build a place where the community gathers in sport," Moretta said. 

"It's about getting kids active, getting kids healthy and being a catalyst."

The 56,400 square foot facility, next to Lasalle's football field, will be able to accommodate a full-sized FIFA regulation field.

The sports bubble will allow athletes to train year-round, an opportunity that has been missing in Sudbury, according to Moretta.

"In terms of athlete development at all levels, especially soccer players, baseball players and football players, this allows them to train twelve months a year," he said.

"It allows kids that aren't hockey players to play indoor sports."

Moretta said sports leagues across the country have emphasised player development in recent years. That's something that will soon be within reach.

"A big buzzword in all sports is long term player development or long term athlete development," Moretta said. "So it allows the players that are Cs to become Bs, the Bs to become As, the As to go to the elite level, and just get kids comfortable playing sports in the wintertime, to get them healthy."

Athletes with the Rainbow District School Board will have access to the facility during the day, with the Foundation, as landlord, making the bookings during the evenings and on weekends.

That was part of the deal hammered out with the board, who contributed the land, as well as a loan to cover a portion of the $4.1 million construction costs.

Moretta said once the details have been worked out, kids will have priority booking, followed by groups that have the biggest need for the facility. 

As for the foundation's namesake, Moretta said he thinks Belli, a longtime friend, would approve of the progress being made.

"He knew how important something like this is in the community," he said.

"When you think of community builders you think of Fabio Belli, and he would be so proud, have a big smile on his face, and he would be front and centre here."

About the Author

Casey Stranges is a reporter based in Sudbury. casey.stranges@cbc.ca

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