CHILLICOTHE — A pair of brothers hope to establish a community sports complex — and a sports bar — north of Chillicothe at the site of a group of ball diamonds and a long-empty building in need of restoration.
Roger and Gayle Masters outlined their plans for the property at 22122 N. Route 29 to members of the Peoria County Board's Land Use Committee earlier this week — the first step in a multi-permit process they hope to have complete for an opening next summer.
At its core, the idea is for the sports bar, Upper Deck Bar and Grill, in the building on the property on the east side of Route 29. "But it's not just sports — it's sports family fun," Roger Masters said.
What does he mean?
In addition to the softball diamonds already there — with lights ready and new dirt set to be spread — they propose adding in volleyball pits, horseshoe pits, a dog park, a picnic area and a playground for kids.
"Even the best kids, by the third inning (of a parent's or sibling's game) become hellions," Roger Masters says with a chuckle, about the value in having the latter available.
All would be open for community use.
In short, "we want to make it community-involved, where the community can come out and do things not necessarily tied to us, but we're tied to the community," Roger Masters said.
Or, as Gayle Masters put it: "Come out and buy a drink, maybe — but there's no cost for (the other) usage."
Members of the committee assented to a change in the number of parking spots to 49 at the restaurant, which would seat about 90. The full board is expected to give its approval Oct. 12.
Still on the docket, as the Masters continue the project, are various other zoning requests, liquor license approvals and health department approvals.
In the meantime, if possible, they're hoping to get dirt spread on the ball fields in the hope those can be used starting in the fall.
"If we (host parts of) big tournaments over the weekends, that's going to help Chillicothe, Peoria and the surrounding area," Roger Masters said.
The pair are also looking into what would be required to add a smokehouse.
Chris Kaergard covers politics and government. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.