Members of the Center Hill Soccer Club (formerly DeKalb County Youth Soccer League) want to relocate their recreational soccer games from the field at Northside Elementary School to the City of Smithville’s Airport Park.
Russ Hackett, a representative of the league, addressed the Mayor and Aldermen Monday night asking them consider allowing the league to lease the park and develop it for soccer.
“We currently have our recreational games at the Northside field but in the next couple of years we will be losing those fields because of the school systems need for additional space for future construction. We’re looking for a place to have recreational soccer. The airport park will suit our purpose for what we want to do. We would like to level the ground, put in fields and goals, and condition the building. We want to turn it into a real soccer sports complex,” said Hackett.
Currently, the city airport park, which consists of an open field with some children’s playground equipment on it and restroom facilities, is available for all who want to use it. “The field right now is being used on a first come, first served basis. Everybody can use it,” said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.
“What I have seen out there is two tee ball teams that religiously use it. A majority of teams that use it are soccer, both youth and adults. And there are occasionally kids out there playing. And we don’t mind stipulating in the lease that other sports leagues can come and use the fields” said Hackett.
“Are you planning to build a building over there,” asked Mayor Jimmy Poss.
“We’re planning on adding on to that building (restrooms),” answered Hackett.
“The problem we’ve got is with the airport. Having buildings erected in the glide zone,” Mayor Poss continued.
“We don’t plan on making it any taller, just wider,” said Hackett
“We’ll have to do some research,” added Mayor Poss
City Administrator Hendrixson said the city could not grant approval until the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics authority is consulted since the area is in the airport’s glide zone. The city has already had to purchase a two story brick home near the airport park which will have to be taken down and the trees around it because of FAA regulations. The home was purchased using TDOT Aeronautics grant funds. The city’s local grant match was 5%.
According to Hackett, the Soccer Club would assume maintenance of the property and remove the playground equipment if the city wishes. The Club would also carry liability insurance for the sporting events.
“What I would like to do is give this proposal to TDOT Aeronautics, being that the park is in the glide zone, and let them look it over. Lets start with the state because they fund a lot of what we have out there. We’ll start with them and hopefully have an answer by the next meeting,” said City Administrator Hendrixson.