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New soccer park could cost $14 million

If they want to lift young soccer players out of the mud, Henderson County commissioners are looking at a sticker-shock price of nearly $14 million.

That’s the projected cost of a new 20-acre soccer park with four artificial-turf, tournament-quality fields that could be built in three phases over 10 years. Business and Community Development Director Chris Todd, County Engineer Marcus Jones and Parks & Recreation Director Carlene Dixon will present the proposal on Wednesday during a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners.
At the direction of Vice Chair Rebecca McCall, county engineers studied the current conditions of the five 90x180-foot soccer fields in Jackson Park and reported that little could be done about the frequent flooding of Mud Creek, which runs alongside the fields.
“Jackson Park isn’t going to cut it for soccer,” McCall said at the board’s April 4 meeting. “It’s a substitute and if we support our children moving forward with soccer we need to provide better facilities for that. Whatever we do at Jackson Park it’s still gonna flood.”
The parks department says more than 800 children participate in the county’s youth soccer programs and that it has received numerous requests for adult leagues. The proposal commissioners will see next week is designed to accommodate multiple sports and to have the capacity of host larger tournaments. It would include:

  • In year 1, land acquisition, surveying, permitting and design at a cost of $2 million.
  • In phase 2 over three years, site development, construction of two full-size fields covering 5 acres plus restrooms and a concession stand at a cost of $5.9 million.
  • In phase 3 through year 10, construction of two more full-size fields at a cost of $5.8 million.

Meanwhile, the county is poised to commit up to $600,000 for an inclusive playground at Jackson Park to replace the non-ADA compliant one that was removed. To pay for it, commissioners have set aside $200,000, the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority chipped in $150,000 and the Parks & Recreation Department, Elks Lodge and Special Needs Sports are raising money.
At their meeting next week commissioners are expected to authorize a contract of $9,500 for Durham-based RVE Inc. for design and construction administration of the playground. Under a timeline RVE submitted, construction would start on Aug. 24 and be finished by Dec. 1 of this year.