Rantoul hotel

Butting up to the new sports complex in Rantoul is a Holiday Inn Express.

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How has the Rantoul Family Sports Complex affected the hotels nearby?

Rich Prajapati, the manager of First Heritage Inn, said he expects the 18-field complex to have “a huge impact for our business.”

His hotel is located a couple blocks north of the 60-plus-acre facility, which is hosting its first events later this month.

“We’re excited,” Prajapati said. “We’ve been waiting for this.”

To prepare, the First Heritage Inn is renovating its rooms.

“We are halfway done,” he said. “It should be done before the sports complex opens.”

While the hotels in Rantoul are expected to benefit, they won’t be able to handle all the visitors expected. Hotels in Champaign-Urbana could see a nice boost in bookings, Visit Champaign County CEO Jayne DeLuce said.

“It’s a major positive impact for hotels for the entire Champaign County area — not only with the hotels,” she said.

DeLuce said the timing of the opening works out great with the rollout of vaccines.

“The timing couldn’t be any better as we move toward reopening the community, and here we have this major sports complex,” she said.

There will also be “an impact on our restaurants, our retail, gas, all of the things that are a domino effect when one event takes place,” DeLuce said. “The fact that so many weekends are booked with sports there means there will be a tremendous impact.”

DeLuce also expects the complex will lead to new development in Rantoul.

“I anticipate we will see a new hotel or more ramp up in Rantoul, as well as additional restaurants,” she said.

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