Ryan declines soccer field offerCity and Y will continue to develop fields in Wellness Park
The project to create soccer fields on the city land reserved for the Wellness Park is moving ahead, although without the backing of the Washington Soccer Club, plans to find land for fields elsewhere.
During Wednesday’s city council meeting, soccer club director Sid Ryan said that the club would not participate in the creation of fields. After the shared use agreement between the city and the Washington Community Y was approved, city administrator Brent Hinson said that he believes the project would continue without the club.
“At this time the soccer club and I are looking at another piece of property to purchase and we will make permanent soccer fields,” Ryan said. “Temporary ones are great, but when you get done with the Wellness Park there are only two soccer fields there. We need five soccer fields for a tournament to come to town.”
Mayor Sandra Johnson said that the fields could become a permanent part of the Wellness Park. Ryan said all the club had discussed were temporary fields. He said the club would survive the next five or six years.
“Do what you want to do, because it doesn’t seem like I am involved in it much anymore, so that is all I have to say,” he said, before leaving the meeting.
During discussion, council member Russ Zieglowsky said that he had spoken with Ryan, Hinson, and Y director Becky Harkema and felt they had worked out an agreement between the club and the Y to use the fields. He stressed to the council that he wanted the soccer club to continue “in the worst way.” He said that a few changes had been made in the agreement, including allowing Ryan to sit on the facilities operation committee. The agreement also asked that the club becomes a non-profit entity. The changes were agreeable to all parties.
“The agreement is pretty solid,” Zieglowsky said.
Gabby Canchola, spokesman for the soccer club before Ryan arrived, said that she had received word that Ryan planned to purchase private land for the soccer club to use.
“I’m a little confused by the conversations going on,” she said, while the council was discussing the agreement. “When is the last time anyone spoke with Sid, because the information I have from Sid from a few hours ago is ‘soccer club has no deal with the Y.’”
She said Ryan had told the club members that there wouldn’t be a deal.
Zieglowsky was shocked by the statement, saying that he believed the groups had an agreement. Harkema said the Y is willing to work with the club, including securing grant money to build the fields.
After Ryan arrived, council member Bob Shellmyer, who attended through video conferencing, asked Ryan if the offer for the soccer club to develop the fields was still good. He said that if it were, he found it hard to accept anything else.
Ryan said that the offer didn’t stand anymore.
The club had originally approached the city to allow it to use 10 acres of land for temporary soccer fields. During discussions, Hinson had recommended the field be administered by the Y as an initial run for the Wellness Park. At the time, Ryan objected, saying the club had a bad experience playing on fields the Y administered. About two years ago, the council had approved allowing the club to use the land, but it was never used.