Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Youth Soccer Complex Voted Down

So yesterday in Johnson County, KS, Question 1 was voted down. This Question would have been a tax to fund a youth soccer complex, a park, community center, walking trail, and other amenities. The purpose of the facility was suppose to alleviate some of the pressure on the current number of youth fields. As those in favor mentioned numerous times, there is currently a lack of fields for the number of players that there are in Johnson County. These fields would also allow the Kansas City area to host bigger tournaments, like USYSA regionals and nationals, state cup competitions, or other tournaments, possibly on the scale as big as the Dallas Cup or the Schwan's USA Cup. Both of those last 2 tournaments bring in international teams from around the world to play.

The opposition to this proposal did a masterful job of confusing voters and used some misleading information that ultimately doomed the proposal. Saying that the proposal was going to help subsidize the KC Wizards MLS team or that they would be used just for Wizards youth teams. Other misleading information that was used was that each field in and of itself would cost $5 million each, not taking into account the purchase of the land and the building of the other
amenities that would be involved in the project.

Does this Doom the Wizards?

There has been talk about this dooming the Wizards and that they will now be leaving the city. This thread specifically on bigsoccer brings back the rumor of the Wizards moving to Philly, which is completely unfounded.

This question has not killed "Plan A" for the Wizards. The plan for OnGoal LLC, the Wizards new owners, is to still build a Soccer Specific Stadium in KC for the Wizards to play in. As
Robb Heineman, principal of OnGoal LLC and interim president of the Wizards, said in the paper today about the issue, "This doesn’t change what our vision is for soccer in Kansas City. The Wizards’ vision is that this is going to work in Kansas City,” Heineman said. “We’re going to push forward. … We’re going to be a world-class soccer organization, and we’re going to be in Kansas City.”

This to me seems to be a direct quote saying they aren't moving, so where does the guy in Philly get the idea the team is moving there? A few sentences earlier in the same article: "Robb Heineman, principal of OnGoal LLC and interim president of the Wizards professional soccer team, said he was disappointed, but remained resolute in getting a stadium built by 2009, but not necessarily in Johnson County."

The bolded part is the section the poster had zeroed in on, saying that this was a sign that the team was moving. All along the Wizards goal had been to get a stadium built by 2009. That plan is still there, the location has just possibly changed.

Has the failing of this ballot issue hurt the Wizards? Yes it has, it'd have been fantastic to have a youth soccer complex right next to the stadium, and that still is a possibility to have a complex like Pizza Hut Park, down in Dallas, but the stadium can still be built without the youth fields, just as the youth fields could have been built without the possibility of the Wizards being right next door. It's just back to the drawing board for the Yes on Youth Soccer people, as there is most definitely a need for the fields. And for the Wizards, it's still pressing forward with the hope of Overland Park acquiring the STAR Bonds necessary to help build the stadium and retail complex.

No comments: