DAYTON - Central Lyon County residents will have a chance to offer their opinions Wednesday on the location for a pair of proposed soccer fields.
If debate at a recent Dayton Regional Advisory Council meeting is any indication, the proposal is not unanimously popular with local soccer moms and dads.
County commissioners told Central Lyon County Parks and Recreation Director Jeannette Hoffert they would not endorse a location until she brought the issue before the residents of the district.
Hoffert and her board have recommended building two fields, funded by a possible U.S. Soccer Federation grant, at the new Mark Twain Park east of Dayton. She said in coming years grants would be sought to build additional fields in Silver Springs, Stagecoach and Mound House, in that order.
Opinions were fairly evenly divided, but several attendees at the Nov. 7 meeting opposed Hoffert's recommendations because they felt the first fields should be built at Como Park on Old Dayton Valley Road.
Advisory Council member Richard Foley said the Como Park was more centrally located and opposed the concept of building a new field in every community in order to gratuitously see they receive certain services.
"This is not cost effective and is self perpetrating. We have an opportunity to look into the future and not only serve our needs now, but to address the needs of the community in the future," he said. "The most effective youth sport facilities anywhere are the centrally located ones. Mark Twain is not a good location for serving the community. I see this as an opportunity to get that project (Como Park) kicked off."
Hoffert said the Mark Twain site is flatter, would not take as long to develop and is more financially feasible to build on. She pointed out Mark Twain is part of Dayton and that soccer federation officials prefer to have two fields back to back than in two or more sites within a community.
"There is no perfect place in Dayton where everything fits everyone. And remember, we are Central Lyon County Parks. It is not our job to just develop parks in Dayton."
Citing the still unresolved traffic problems in the vicinity of Como Park and the schools, council member Julie Keppler supported the Mark Twain site.
"What is it going to look like in that area on Saturday morning, with soccer, Pop Warner football, and everything else going on around the schools," she said.
Hoffert must have the application, including engineering studies of the property, submitted to the U.S. Soccer Federation by Dec. 1. If selected, the federation will pay for the entire project and only in-kind support will be required from the community. Hoffert said only 48 projects were chosen from 550 nationwide applications last year and there is no guarantee her application will be selected.
With only 23 days remaining until the deadline, several attendees noted the community currently has very little in the way of recreational facilities and expressed concern the debate could result in their getting nothing.
Foley said his support for the Como site was not intended to slow down the project, but to see that the money is well spent. "The Mark Twain site is a waste of money," he said.
Following more than an hour of debate, the advisory council voted to support the grant application for the two fields, but said the location should be determined at the park board meeting. The meeting will be held at the Dayton Community Center, beginning at 7 p.m. All area advisory councils and interested residents are invited to attend.
For information, call Hoffert at 246-6227.