By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
STEVENSVILLE — The Lakeshore Youth Soccer League is making its way toward an improved soccer complex in Lincoln Township.
League President Mark Smith spoke to Lincoln Township trustees at last week’s board meeting, seeking approval to go ahead with expanding the Rockey Weed Soccer Complex.
Smith told trustees the $2 million upgrade would match what baseball and football has already done to the area.
“It’s going to be used for multiple sports. Not just soccer,” Smith said. “We’re also talking about tournament-worthy fields with a potential to attract people across the region. If completed, it’s going to be hard to find another complex like it on this side of the state.”
Lincoln Township Treasurer Terrie Smith said the grounds are owned by the township, which is why the league asked for permission.
The township board approved the proposal and is supporting LYSL with $160,000 that’s been saved toward improvements.
“They will go out to seek other donors on their end and the township’s engineer will be overseeing the development of it,” Terrie Smith said. “Mark has been working with me for two years now, trying to get things rolling.”
Construction will begin in June with an estimated completion date of August 2018, Terrie Smith said.
Construction drawings have already been started, the league president said. The first phase of construction will begin after the spring season ends.
The expanded soccer complex is expected to include 31 soccer fields. This includes 24 tournament-sized fields that are capable of hosting a 250-team tournament. Among those fields, one lighted championship field would include bleachers and a scoreboard.
There would be two lacrosse fields, two multi-purpose basketball/volleyball courts, four multi-purpose basketball/futsal (five-a-side soccer) courts, a 1.5-mile fitness trail, a 3,000-square-foot playground and about 700 paved parking spaces.
“Parking and the ground’s infrastructure is a major portion and expense,” Mark Smith said. “It’s about three-quarters of the budget. Everything above ground, like goals and the nets, are about a quarter of the costs.”
Terrie Smith said it will take LSYL about three years to raise the needed funds, unless donations come sooner than expected.
In that time, the complex is expected to be upgraded in four phases.
In phase one, LYSL plans to create gravel parking areas as designed, to expand fields into an existing parking lot and to construct an equipment building. Phase two will involve the installation of above-ground improvements to complete the soccer fields.
The buildings, playground and additional sport courts would be completed in phase three. Phase four would have all the lots paved, the walking trail and exercise stations installed.
Each phase will vary based on the funding secured, Terrie Smith said.
“It would all depend on the donors to add to the fund,” Terrie said. “The township’s park fund is divided into each sport. We have capital improvement for them and we’ve been putting funds away for the last few years.”
Anyone who wants to donate to the soccer complex can email Mark Smith at email@example.com.