Saturday, January 19, 2013

Talk of Soccer Fields and Sporting KC

The past few days in Kansas City there's been a lot of talk about youth fields on both sides of the state line and a connection to Sporting Kansas City on both. 

On the Missouri side of the Missouri side of the state line, we appear to have a resolution between the city of Kansas City and the Raytown School District when it comes to the Winchester TIF district.  The city had wanted to use $11 million in allocated funds to improve the soccer fields around Sporting KC's training complex and expand Sporting's complex.  The school district had felt that this was outside the realm of the original TIF and the funds should be returned. 

In the compromise, the district and other jurisdictions will get about $3.4 million.  The city will get $5 million.  The city and Jackson county will pledge another $5 million from tax revenue to expand the complex. After the spat between the city and school district was made public, Sporting stepped away from the table when it came to building the fields, Sporting didn't need the negative connotations of fighting a school district for funds to build soccer fields.  With the new plan in place though, expect Sporting to be back at the table as they're expected to help manage the complex.  The hope is that the complex will be able to compete with and compliment the Overland Park Soccer Complex.

On the other side of the state line, things don't appear to be going as well.  Originally when the Unified Government of Wyandotte County agreed to help with STAR Bonds to help build Sporting Park, Sporting was going to build soccer fields in Wyandotte.  Sporting was supposed to build almost 2 dozen fields in the county.  Three were supposed to be inner city fields while they were also supposed to build 18 tournament level fields as well. 

Apparently deadlines for the building of these fields have passed without a word from either the county of the team.  The 3 fields in the urban core were supposed to be completed in 2011, but no work has been done.  The 18 field tournament complex was supposed to be built to the southwest of Sporting Park in Wyandotte County Park.

The fields with the stadium were something that I had been wondering about for a little bit because I remember seeing them in some of the original renderings of the Legends area with the stadium.  It's sad that the team hasn't gotten started on this yet.  I understand that they've had other issues on their plate, but if they want to continue their good image in the city, they need to get these fields started.  There is definitely still a lack of "tournament quality fields" in this city and the Overland Park Soccer Complex is usually well overbooked.  Another complex to help with that would be a big plus and combined together could help bring some very big tournaments to the city.  Hopefully Sporting get back on top of this.

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