07/20/14 — Soccer field complex still on city agenda

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Soccer field complex still on city agenda

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on July 20, 2014 1:50 AM

The Goldsboro City Council has directed the city to move forward with construction schematics for a new soccer complex -- despite the fact that a recent recreation bond designed to fund it failed.

The plans are expected to cost $10,000-$15,000 and are only the first step in the process.

Next comes figuring out how to pay for it.

There are no concrete plans to fund the construction, yet, but Goldsboro Parks and Recreation director Scott Barnard said he would like to see the project under bid in the fall and to see construction start next spring.

"The council gave us marching orders to move forward with the design portion of the complex," Barnard said. "With the design in hand, we can begin looking for financial support. The hope is that the sale of the property on Wayne Memorial (Drive) and through partnerships that continue to evolve, we can do this in partnership with someone else."

Barnard said the city is looking at public and private partnerships with partners such as Wayne County, Wayne Community College and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The Air Force base has agreed to lease a portion of land on the edge of the base-owned property off Oak Forest Road, which was once used for housing, to the city for the purpose of building the complex. The agreement is part of a new initiative allowing bases to enter into partnerships with local government.

The complex is expected to cost $6 million to construct the buildings and the initial four fields.

There is still discussion about whether the fields will be artificial or traditional or some combination of the two, Barnard said.

Artificial fields cost more to start with, but are less expensive to keep up, officials say.

"Artificial fields are more expensive out of the gate but once you get to that six- or seven-year mark, you break even and then have the chance to make some money off of those fields," Barnard said. "With a traditional field, if it rains the day before, you cancel practice. And if it's supposed to thunder storm on Saturday, then know you are going to cancel the whole weekend tournament games. With artificial, as long as it isn't thundering, they know they will play."

The complex buildings would include restrooms, concessions and shelters.

The debt on the sports complex would be paid through the city Occupancy Fund, which is served through the hotel occupancy tax, with the idea that the complex would boost tourism in the area.