Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

Soccer field moves ahead

By David Hotle | Aug 22, 2013
Washington Community Y director Becky Harkema, left, and Washington Soccer Club director Sid Ryan share their agreement to construct a soccer field with the city council.

The soccer fields to the north of town are a go after the Washington Community Y and the Washington Soccer Club came to an agreement to allow for the sharing of the proposed field.
During its regular meeting Wednesday, the Washington City Council approved amending a rental agreement to use 10 acres of the land now being rented to convert to a field. The Washington Soccer Club has said they would raise the $15,000 needed to build the soccer field. It will be about a year from the time the field is planted before it will be ready for use.
“The agreement is to make sure you agree with the general thrust of things here,” city administrator Brent Hinson said.
Hinson provided the agreement shortly before the meeting. The council is expected to vote on the agreement during its next meeting on Aug. 28.  
During the meeting, Y director Becky Harkema and soccer club director Sid Ryan told the council that the agreement is for the Y to schedule the use of the field with input from Ryan. Ryan said the only thing he didn’t like about the agreement is that he felt there was too much bureaucracy.
“This is meant to be a simple type thing – to get kids out into the fields – and you use it as a dry run for a recreational park and miring it with that extra bureaucracy,” Ryan said. “Maybe it needs to be there, but I wish it wasn’t there.”
He said the feasibility study to determine if the park can be built is not back yet. He also said that the original agreement would have made him personally liable for any injury that may have happened on the field.
On Aug. 19, The Journal reported that no agreement had been reached. The agreement was reached after press time, Ryan said.
The land was acquired by the city to be used for a proposed 45-acre Wellness Park that is being studied.
“The intent is inclusion, the intent is cooperation and the intent is partnership,” Council member Bob Shepherd said, of the soccer field project. “Everybody is represented and everybody is a part.”
Hinson said that the city has verbal commitments for many of the donors who are going to help build the soccer field. He said that much of that would not be possible if the Y were not involved.
“This is basically our prior run to get ready for the Wellness Park operations,” Hinson said. “It is to put a mechanism in place to help overcome the conflicts and issues that have come up in the past. We have had one group steamroll another group and all kinds of disagreements. We are trying to get ahead of that issue.”
He said a facility operations committee that is mentioned in the agreement would eventually become the Wellness Park operations committee. During the meeting Park Board member Don Pfeiffer said that the board did not believe it should administer the Wellness Park.
A report of a Wellness Park feasibility study will be given to the Washington Community Y board on Monday, Harkema said. After that Harkema hopes to have a timeline for the construction of the Wellness Park and the Y’s role in the project.  
On Aug. 7, the soccer club had approached the council about using the land to build a soccer field. The council had said that the club would have to work out an agreement with the Y.
In other business, the council:
• heard an annual report from Dr. Paul Towner on the Washington Municipal Band’s 81st season, which recently ended;
• approved a loan agreement to purchase two new police vehicles. One vehicle had been budgeted for this year, but Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman said that the vehicles were in need of replacement;
• approved the third reading of an ordinance correcting procedures in the animal protection and control ordinance;
• tabled a resolution supporting the south side area sidewalk connector project after hearing an objection about the project;
• approved a resolution of septic hauling terms and conditions and setting fees; and
• held a closed session meeting to discuss pending litigation and personnel matters.

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