Even before the Washington City Council gave Washington Soccer Club chair Sid Ryan and Washington Community Y director Becky Harkema the mandate to come up with a plan for the two entities to work together to build a soccer field, the two had already been in discussions.
After the Washington City Council meeting in which the soccer club had requested to use about 10 acres of land from the “school 90” to create a soccer field, Ryan and Harkema were discussing when they could meet with city administrator Brent Hinson and the city’s park board. The two were optimistic that they could work out an arrangement that would allow the soccer program in Washington to continue.
“It’s definitely possible,” Ryan said. “The club is just so afraid they are going to get pushed around. We are really pushing to get first say on the scheduling.”
After about an hour of discussion Wednesday, the council instructed the Y and the soccer club to work together to bring a plan back. Ryan had said that in the past the club had problems working with the Y. He said that was when there was a different director. He also said he wanted to ensure the soccer club would be able to keep the scheduling authority for the proposed field. He is concerned about other teams using the field. He is concerned if the club didn’t have first choice of scheduling, the club may be kicked off a field it paid to seed.
About 100 people affiliated with the soccer club attended the meeting.
Harkema said she believed the two could work out the arrangements to bring before the council on Aug. 21. Hinson said the council needed to make a decision before the end of the month to inform Duane Redlinger, who rents the property for farmland, if there will be a change in the rental agreement for next year.
“We will figure out scheduling,” Harkema said. “It will work out fine. It’s all about working together and collaborating.”
Ryan said that the two had discussed working together last Monday. He said that Harkema had been supportive and offered the Y’s help in any way needed.
During the meeting, in which Ryan approached the council about using the 10 acres to build a soccer field, there was a dispute among several council members whether the Y should be involved in the project. All members agreed the land should be given for the field.
Council member Mark Kendall made the motion to lease the 10 acres to the Y to administer to the club. Council member Bob Shellmyer amended the motion, asking the Y and the club to come back to the council with a solid plan before the issue was voted on. Council member Russ Zieglowsky objected to the Y’s participation, saying the soccer club had come to the council and the Y was later invited to be part of the arrangement.
Ryan said the club has been struggling for 13 years to find space to use. Previously, he said, Whitesell was allowing the club to use some of its land, but is no longer allowing the land to be used. There is no official-sized soccer field in Washington.
During discussion, Ryan said that if the land isn’t granted, it could mean the end of the soccer club. The “school 90” was purchased by the city to be used for a proposed Wellness Park, which includes soccer fields. Hinson said this could be a good opportunity to get the feel of administering the park on a smaller scale.
Ryan estimates that the cost of building a soccer field is about $15,000, which the team is going to raise. No tax money would be used to seed the field. He also said that if the field is planted this fall, it would be at least a year before it is ready. Harkema said that the Y wants to help fund the field. Anyone interested in donating to the soccer field can contact Ryan at 548-0441.
In other business, the council:
• approved year-end financials. The city ended the year $223,500 in the black;
• approved a request to allow the Washington Chamber of Commerce and the Y to hold a Halloween event on the square on Oct. 31. Council member Bob Shepherd was worried that it might conflict with the last Farmers Market of the season, but said they would work something out;
• approved street closure requests from the Corn Country Cruisers for 2014 and 2015;
• tabled a request from the Southeastern Iowa Paranormal Society for access to Elm Grove Cemetery until a representative could address the council;
• approved Gronewold, Bell, Kyhnn & Co. of Atlanta as the city’s auditor;
• approved an agreement with Cobb Oil that included purchasing a property south of the water plant for $100;
• held a public hearing on funded activities in the City of Washington. No comments were made;
• endorsed Historic Preservation Commission’s application for a CLG grant;
• approved a resolution creating a Neighborhood Stabilization Program;
• discussed the top priorities from the Housing task Force recommendations;
• approved an ordinance vacating a portion of East Sixth Street and gifted it to Washington County;
• amended personnel policies for tuition reimbursement;
• approved the third reading of an ordinance for additional stop signs around the school; and
• learned council member Fred Stark will not run for re-election for his Ward 4 position during the November election.