Lack of details postpones soccer complex discussion

The Fayetteville Board of Mayor and Aldermen met last Thursday for a specially called meeting to discuss funding for the proposed soccer complex to be constructed off Wilson Parkway. No action was taken because the board wasn’t given enough concrete facts and figures to make a decision.

Representatives from Barge Design Solutions, the firm recruited to design the soccer field, presented complex dimensions and cost; however as the meeting progressed, the financial information became increasingly difficult to understand, and it became clear that Barge had not sufficiently prepared its numbers prior to the discussion.

City officials were given informational packets prior to the meeting that didn’t include financial analysis. Barge did include information that showed the complex that will run parallel to Wood Drive, would feature six fields – four 120’ by 180’, one 105’ by 180’, and one 120’ by 180”. Barge representatives spoke at length about the features of the field, illustrating the subdivisions that could be made into individual fields to allow multiple groups to simultaneously practice and/or play.

The timeline of progress made up to this point was then laid out, beginning with the signing of a contract to draft the field in March of last year and proceeding though January, when bids were received for construction. The city received only one bid from Knoxville-based Baseline Sports Construction.

According to records, the city received a $500,000 grant in February 2016. In April 2018 the original plan was to have a U12 field for young kids to play. The grant covered that plan 100 percent. Now, a few city officials want a competition-size complex; however, allegedly $500,000 won’t cover the cost. Bond money will pay $204,000 for lights and $86,000 for irrigation. Barge Design has asked for an additional $75,000 because, apparently, they now aren’t sure their original $218,000 will cover the costs. Also, according to records, they aren’t sure that dollar amount includes lights and poles. The new plans don’t include bathrooms, fencing, concession stand, signage, nets, scoreboards and more.

Currently the city doesn’t have a soccer league; to date, 30 kids have signed up to play.

“I don’t think we have the numbers we need to know,” said Mayor Michael Whisenant. Similar comments were expressed by board members. “I don’t know what I’m looking at,” said Aldermen Dorothy Small.

The meeting was promptly adjourned, and has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 16 at 5 p.m.