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Milton to study soccer field plan

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
May 4, 2010

If you’re a soccer parent in Milton, you’ve probably noticed that on game day, you spend all day driving back and forth between King, Central and Schilberg Parks, where each of your children is playing a separate soccer game at separate times.


And if you’re anyone else in Milton, on game days you’ve probably seen droves of youths in soccer uniforms crossing the busy streets between the city’s three soccer parks.


Those issues, officials say, are the result of a youth league soccer movement in Milton that’s grown to 700 players on more than 40 teams.


“We’ve consistently grown to the point where we’re running out of fields for our kids. We need to find a way that parents and kids wouldn’t have to travel and migrate from field to field,” Milton Soccer Club President Mike Sullivan said.


Sullivan said the league has an answer: a plan for a consolidated, eight-field soccer complex on the city’s north end.


The Milton City Council on Tuesday will review a draft for lease of a 20-acre parcel of city-owned land the youth soccer club wants to develop into an eight-field soccer park with amenities.


The council previously gave city staff approval to begin negotiations with the club for lease of the site.


The site, now leased as farmland, is on the east side of the 200 block of Highway 26, behind a residential area bordering on a city well, officials said. The parcel already is zoned for recreational use, City Administrator Todd Schmidt said.


Sullivan said club officials have been in talks with the city about the site since January 2010.


“We (the league) never knew that land existed,” Sullivan said.


He said the site is suitably sized for the number of fields the club needs, and he said it’s flat, so it wouldn’t need extensive grading.


Pending review and approval by the city council of a draft lease, Schmidt said the city likely would offer the soccer club a “very, very favorable lease rate” for the site.


“I don’t think the city wants to stand in the way of this (project),” Schmidt said.


No project costs have been released, but Schmidt said the soccer club would fund development of the site.


“It really is their project. (The city) is just helping facilitate it,” Schmidt said.


Sullivan said the club has funding to start the development, but he wouldn’t disclose an amount.


“I’ll say what we’ve got would be for the base of (development). We’ve got to get pricing and plans ready. That’s where we’re at. It’s extremely early for us,” Sullivan said.


If the development is approved, club officials would organize a capital campaign to pay for some of the work for the soccer complex, which club officials say could eventually be used to host multi-age tournaments.


Sullivan said the site could be graded, seeded and ready for soccer by spring 2012.


Amenities at the park, Sullivan said, could include:


-- Lights


-- Irrigation.


-- Off-street, asphalt parking.


-- Concessions and equipment facilities, restrooms and a league office.


Milton alderman Brett Frazier, a former youth soccer player, said a soccer complex would be a “win-win” for youth recreation in Milton.


But Frazier said he’d need to be assured the soccer club, not the city, would pay for development of the park.


“If this is going to cost the city something in tax dollars, that’s a whole different conversation,” Frazier said. “The city’s not necessarily in a position to be throwing money at luxury projects.”



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