A new multimillion soccer complex is being proposed for Enid.
Jessica Nelson, executive director of Enid Sports, presented plans for Advance Soccer Complex during an Enid City Commission study session Tuesday evening.
Property at the intersection of Rupe and Garland, south of the Walmart Supercenter in west Enid, is being proposed for the complex.
The athletic facility would include 12 soccer fields with irrigation and some field lighting, concessions and restrooms, shade structures and playgrounds on 127 acres.
“Part of this project is to include a park-like feel. Soccer is a very family-oriented sport,” she said. “We’re trying to create an event space that can also be used kind of for your outdoor movies, or outdoor concerts, maybe an art festival.”
Current complex never meant for soccer
While the current complex, at 1520 W. Poplar, is usable about 80 percent of the year, Nelson said it is important to realize “that doesn’t benefit us.”
“Our current complex was never meant to be a soccer field. It was meant to be a retention pond. So, when it rains, it rains, and it does its job very well, and it holds that water for days at a time,” she said.
Debris will be washed onto the fields and must be cleaned off before teams can play, Nelson noted.
This fall season — currently underway — there already have been two weekends of games canceled. This required rescheduling 378 games, she said.
“It’s insane. We have 1,000 kids in Enid … that play soccer. We also draw teams from Alva, Fairview and Kingfisher, and yet we can’t host a tournament because our facilities are embarrassing. So, it’s kind of a loss for the city of Enid, from a revenue perspective,” Nelson said.
It’s difficult to find the complex without signs, there’s no designated entry, the bathrooms are “scary” and the fields can’t be maintained in a water retention area, she said.
“Skiatook has 8,000 people that live there, and they have a better soccer complex than we do,” Nelson said.
Tournaments would bring revenue to city
Enid Sports has a goal of hosting six annual soccer tournaments, at a minimum.
“I’m hoping to get 150 teams. I think that’s very doable, and I think it’s very conservative. In fact, we may end up having to feed over into the old complex for overflow in the beginning of a tournament,” she said. “That would bring in revenue of a quarter of a million dollars a year, just on tournaments alone.”
The first tournament would probably be the Cosmos Cup. It’s a club-based tournament, Nelson said.
“They are very interested in branching out their club. They already have some teams here in Enid,” she said. “They’re looking into branching out their tournaments, and they would love to bring a Cosmos Cup tournament here to Enid.”
The city would gain nearly $50,000 in revenue on the one tournament, Nelson said.
$3 million donated for facility
Donors have given Enid Sports $3 million to help build the facility, but it will take more funds, Nelson said.
“I’m here today in hopes that you could add an infrastructure addition,” she said. “Our next steps are just trying to figure out the involvement that the city can provide, if any.
“I think it’s a no-brainer. I think everyone knows that sports generate revenue, and right now we have a lot of baseball fields, we have some football fields. Our soccer community is the largest group of people that we have in Enid, that play soccer, and their facilities are not so hot. I think it would be a really good investment for you, and I think knowing that it’s phased helps.”
It would be phased over 2 to 2.5 years, she said.
Elliott+Associates Architects has been selected as the architect on the project, and the engineer is Olsson Associates.
Nelson said Enid Sports is working to determine how much the soccer complex will cost to maintain.
It’s possible the city of Enid would own it, but it would be maintained and operated by Enid Sports, she said.
Field planned for school
The donors were very interested in building soccer fields on the east side of town. Nelson has spent the past year doing site evaluations at various sites.
“The east side is just so hilly, and it would take probably $1.5 to $2 million, depending on where, to move dirt around to make it even and level for a soccer field,” Nelson said.
Enid Sports and Enid Public Schools have partnered in building a budget for a field at Longfellow Middle School. The budget will be finalized by the end of the month.
“That’s very promising, and it’s very exciting for the community over there,” she said.
Story provided by: Enid News & Eagle
Written by: Jessica Miller