Lubbock voters to decide on new soccer fields - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/20/09

Lubbock voters to decide on new soccer fields

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By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - We continue to examine bond proposals on the ballot for Lubbock voters. Monday, we told you about 'splash pad' projects in four city parks. If passed, they would cost $1.2-million to build.

'Splash pads' are more cost effective than pools, and eliminate the need for lifeguards, because there's virtually no risk of drowning. Water is treated and recycled, and features are usually controlled by sensors to prevent waste.

Now, we're taking a closer look at another park project, phase two of the Youth Sports Complex at F.M. 1585 (130th Street) and Milwaukee Avenue. Phase two calls for a 90-acre soccer complex. If approved, the city would spend $9-million towards 53-soccer fields surrounding the current baseball and softball fields.

The total project includes buildings, utilities, irrigation, turf, goals, lights, and parking lots. Fields are designed to meet regulation play for youth to adults. The proposal states fields for younger players will receive priority during construction.

"Soccer fields, really the estimate on that is much higher than the $9-million that's provided there. It's about $12-million, but it is scaleable. We were able to scale that back and still do it correctly. That was one of our missions in life, if we're going to do it, do it right and not do half of what it really takes," Kevin McMahon, Chair for the 2009 Citizen Advisory Committee said.

The CAC who examined and proposed the project says the city could benefit in sales tax revenue from tournaments hosted at a new soccer complex. They say the current facility at Berl Huffman is not set-up to host major tournaments.

The Midland Convention and Visitors Bureau has been a part of 62 soccer events from 9/01/06 to 9/30/09. They say that's generated an estimated $2.7-million in direct visitor spending with approximately 22,000 athletes/coaches/spectators attending.

NewsChannel 11 did have some folks ask why they're being asked to vote for soccer fields again, so we asked Mayor Tom Martin to explain. "In 2004 there was a bond issue for a little over $1-million, supposedly to buy 26 acres of land in southwest Lubbock to build soccer fields. As it turns out, that was not nearly enough money. You'd be hard pressed to buy five acres of land for a million dollars in southwest Lubbock," Martin said.

Martin says the city bought 160 acres at F.M. 1585 & Milwaukee, originally for a water treatment plant, back in the 1970's. Leaders determined that wasn't the right place to build, so they used that land for the complex. Martin says in 2005, the city council decided to use the 2004 bond money to build the infrastructure at the complex, mainly sewer and water extensions.

"Having the land available and using that bond money to extend the utilities, which would have to be done in any circumstance, it gave us the where-with-all to build phase one. We had other funds for girl's softball and little league fields, and so now this is phase two, the actual construction of the soccer fields on the sports facility," Martin said.

Early voting runs through Friday, October 30th. Election day is November 3rd.

©2009 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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