Despite funding setbacks and delays, Fairhope city officials say the municipal soccer complex on Manley Road will open in time for the Fairhope soccer league’s Halloween Blast Tournament in October.
At the Fairhope City Council’s July 25 work session, councilors discussed options to fund the construction of a proposed $600,000 building to house a concessions stand, press box and restrooms at the development. Council President Jack Burrell said the Fairhope Single Tax Colony committed to donating $300,000 in cash to the project and the city could supply $200,000 in additional cash and $100,000 in in-kind donations to the project.
In addition, Burrell told councilors the Fairhope youth soccer league has pledged to raise an additional $80,000 to $100,000 to purchase equipment such as goals and bleachers.
In April 2015 the council approved $2.42 million in bids for the construction of the soccer complex, which will be home to nine fields on 40 acres at the intersection of Manley Road and Baldwin County 13. The city purchased the land for $875,000 in 2009. Last June, the council approved the purchase of $1,054,219 in Musco Sports Lighting materials from Birmingham-based Graybar Electric Company for the city’s electrical department to use at the soccer complex.
The soccer complex was originally planned to open this spring. Restrooms, equipment and concessions were not included in the plans approved by the council at the time. Mayor Tim Kant said their omission was a cost saving measure.
“Everything is moving forward with the current plan,” Kant said. “We did not go ahead and put in that building because we were hoping to have some help from the soccer league, and now we have that. It will save a lot of money for the soccer league to build it as far as all the red tape the city would have to go through. We are going to fund the project and hopefully we will have a nice, complete facility by the end of the year.”
According to Kant, the city’s in-kind donations would come in the form of installing power and wiring to the concession and restroom building, installing sewer lines and grinder pumps. He said a proposed landscaping buffer around the development will be installed by the end of the year.
Fairhope Recreation and Community Affairs Director Sherry Sullivan said the fields are grassed and pavement has been installed for parking. She said the fields will be ready for tournament play in October.
When constructed the building will be the largest concession and restroom area of its kind in Fairhope, according to Sullivan. It will house 28 total restrooms for men and women, a concession area, several storage rooms, a meeting area and an upstairs press box with a 360-degree view of the fields.
“The only thing lacking right now is the concessions and restroom facilities as well as the lights for the fields,” she said. “Our electric department should be able to begin work on installing the lights this week.”
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