07/09/10 — Soccer complex proposed for city

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Soccer complex proposed for city

By Aaron Moore
Published in News on July 9, 2010 1:46 PM

The Neuse River Youth Soccer Association and local Kiwanis clubs are looking to partner with the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department to create a youth soccer complex near Waynesborough Park.

A spokesman for the soccer association, Dr. Kevin Wolf, told members of the Goldsboro City Council at a recent meeting that the complex would be a financial boon for the city. Similar soccer complexes in other cities around the state have proved to be economic engines that draw hundreds of players and their families for tournaments that can last several days.

He said the city of Greensboro, for example, hosts tournaments that draw hundreds of teams. The events bring more revenue to Greensboro's motels, restaurants and other services than the Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament, he said.

The association would build the fields, Wolf told council members. The association and the Kiwanis clubs in the area have already begun fundraising efforts, he said.

Wolf said the association is seeking a "memorandum of understanding" with the city before proceeding with further fundraising efforts. What the association wants from the city is simply the use of the 23-acre tract of land and for the city to help with maintenance. The site, next to Waynesborough Historical Village, is located in the county's flood plain and cannot be used for homes or businesses.

David Quick spoke on behalf of the Kiwanis clubs in the county, saying the enterprise would be of great benefit to the city and the county.

Other cities in eastern North Carolina have similar complexes, and they have proven to be money-makers, Wolf and Quick said.

Wolf said the association's teams frequently have to share facilities with other types of sports leagues and want to be able to have some control over what its fields are used for. Oftentimes, teams arrive to find the fields and goals damaged, he said.

"We want to get away from all that," he told the council.

Wolf made it clear, however, that the association wants a partnership with the city. It does not want to duplicate the duties of the Parks and Recreation Department.

In a draft agreement presented to the city council members, the NRYSA enumerated the responsibilities it would agree to take on, as well as the responsibilities of the Kiwanis and the Parks and Recreation Department if they should reach an agreement.

The Kiwanis' proposed responsibilities largely deal with the construction of the complex, including the financing required to design and construct it, obtaining permits required by local, state and federal review agencies, preparing documents for accepting bids on the project, construction management, providing access to the site for local, state and federal review agencies, providing drainage, parking, access, fencing, concession and restroom facilities, and providing a written contract between the Kiwanis and all contractors working at the site.

The association's proposed responsibilities deal with the operation of the soccer program after the complex is built, including scheduling games and tournaments, providing and maintaining goals and nets, initial lining and measurement of fields, organizing and supervising the referee program and coming up with a marketing the program.

The city would be responsible for landscaping and mowing, maintenance of parking lots, service roads, maintaining restrooms, plumbing and sewer, garbage collection, spraying and fertilizing fields, the lining of fields after the association's initial measuring and lining, watering of fields, providing electricity for lights and the maintenance of bleachers, concession stands and providing security as needed.

Wolf said the project is expected to cost about $750,000 and would take four to five years to complete.

The Kiwanis already have some ideas on how to raise money to fund the project, including an online car raffle.

Quick said the Kiwanis clubs have already raised about $2,000, which would help with the initial surveying and engineering work.

"What we need now is an agreement with the city that will not cost the city anything," he told the council members. "If we come up with whatever it takes, we need park maintenance."

The council members were generally receptive to the idea of the soccer complex.

"I like the idea," Mayor Al King said. "I don't think there's any doubt about it, it would be an asset to our community."

Council Member Bob Waller said he also liked the idea, but he recommended to Wolf that the soccer association first talk with officials in the Parks and Recreation Department.

Officials with the department said last week that they have not reached a decision regarding the proposal.