Soccer Supporters Want Vote to Speed Up Goal - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/12/07

Soccer Supporters Want Vote to Speed Up Goal

The latest estimates have Lubbock's new youth soccer complex coming in at $10.2 million. On Friday, the council will discuss how to pay for that project.

They could choose certificates of obligation, which do not require voter approval.  The council could also opt for general obligation bonds, which do call for an election, but some soccer fans say the fields should already be up.

In 2004, voters approved a $30 million bond package. The parks proposition included requests for two little league complexes, and southwest soccer. Ball parks are going up, including softball fields that weren't specified on the ballot. Now, Lubbock soccer fans say it's their turn.

"I think everyone knows $1 million wasn't going to build anything," Lubbock City Councilman John Leonard said. 

He's referring to money approved for Lubbock soccer in 2004.

"The $1 million was not going to build soccer fields," Leonard said. 

He says that money was for land.

"I've talked to several people who were involved in the process, and they all said no, we told them the construction would come in a phase two or later in the project," Leonard said. 

The Lubbock Soccer Association says they haven't seen any progress on new fields for their players, but ballparks have.

"Every time I talk to somebody, yeah we got softball fields and baseball fields, but no soccer yet," Lubbock Soccer Association President Billy Babcock said. 

Even softball fields not specified on the 2004 ballot are being built.

"Does it bother you to see the softball fields going up," NewsChannel 11 asked. 

"Personally it does. It does not bother me from the stand point that those kids need those fields, but why aren't our soccer fields being built along right at the same time with it," Babcock said. 

Leonard says it's based on need.

"We have need for soccer fields. We have need for softball fields for the girls, because the girls didn't really have any place to play, there's two rundown fields in Mackenzie Park, at least the soccer did have fields at the Berl Huffman Complex," Leonard said. 

He says the city did put some certificates of obligation into the softball fields, meaning they were partially funded by city taxes, without an election.  NewsChannel 11 also learned that the $1 million approved in 2004 went to phase on of the sports complex, which includes 12-softball fields.

Fifty-four new soccer fields are scheduled for phase two of the complex.

"I want to see the soccer fields built. I'd like the kiddos to have a nice place to play, but I'd like the public to be involved in that process," Leonard said. 

"Their fields are just as needed as ours are; they were not on that bond in any form or fashion, yet they've already started construction on those projects, and we're still sitting here waiting," Babcock said. 

Babcock is worried another election will delay the project and drive up costs. He hopes the council will give soccer the same consideration they gave softball.

Again, council is set to take up the issue on Friday.  NewsChannel 11 will let folks know what happens.

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