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Agreement for Soccer Complex to be Hammered-Out

March 21, 2011

03/22/11  “Build it and they will come…” was the admonishment in the movie Field of Dreams and it appears another sport in the area has taken that to heart.

Local soccer players may have a new place to hone their skills if the final questions can be worked out between Marshall County and the Plymouth Travel Soccer Club which will include the Plymouth Recreational Soccer league as well. Curt Feece made a second trip to speak to the Marshall County Commissioners about building a new soccer complex on land the group hopes to lease from Marshall County.

The League hopes to finalize an arrangement to lease property the county owns in the vicinity of Shady Rest on Lincolnway. Feece’s request to the Commissioners on Monday was to enter into a 99 year lease agreement for 53 acres of property just south and west of the current County Highway garage. Feece said the location would put it further from several farming operations in the area than the original plan thus limiting the possibility for any sort of conflict or difficulty to either party. He said the plan was that the league would pay the full current price the county is charging to lease the land for farming.

The county currently leases the property for approximately $7500 for the purpose of farming.

The plan includes four “on again, off again” football fields for the use of the Marshall Junior Football League(MCJFL). He said the league is still in a transition phase and involved in the decision process over whether the league will use the fields or not.

Feece outlined the plan for the project, based on the Junior Irish program and field complex in South Bend. He laid out financial projections on how the league would raise money and donations to take up the cost of construction and maintenance and progressing from a minimum plan to the optimum.

Feece said that tournament fees that could be generated by having the facility would be a big way to raise the money. He said the reason for asking for the 99 year lease in particular was to make the league eligible for a grant from the United States Soccer Federation that can be used for infrastructure in the construction of youth soccer facilities. The grant could bring in up to $20,000 for the project if accepted.

President of the Commissioners Kevin Overmyer stated that he would prefer to make an arrangement with the Plymouth Soccer leagues alone. He said the stated “transition” phase of the MCJFL made him reluctant to include a group that might back out of the arrangements at a later date.

Feece stated that he would like to see the football fields included but didn’t want to see the soccer project held up for them. He also said that if the football fields were not included, that the complex would not need to lease as much land and take it out of farm production.

Al Neidlinger – who runs one of the farms in the area – stated that he still had concerns about the fact that some of the activities of farms in the area produced odors that people might find offensive and worried about the repercussions of that. He also stated that he believed in keeping farm ground for farming and that if the land were made into soccer fields it would be difficult to return it to farming if the complex did not work out.

Feece said that work could begin on the complex in the spring and that it could then be ready for play in the fall of 2012.

The next step as voted on by the Commissioners is to see if an agreeable lease arrangement can be worked out for the land. The agreement would include – at the suggestion of the soccer leagues – a review of the arrangement in five years to be sure that each side was satisfied with the progress of the complex.

Rusty Nixon Correspondent

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