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Local soccer league geting new practice fields

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By Marty Finley

mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN –As the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau forges on toward its goal of creating the Field of Dreams sports complex, the Elizabethtown Youth Soccer Association hopes to accomplish a smaller goal soon by creating a haven for local athletes to practice.

This concept was given life Monday with the announcement of a 10-year lease agreement between the city of Elizabethtown and Dow Corning for property along Locust Grove Road for $1 a year. The road is the proposed location for five soccer fields of various sizes where local teams can practice. No timetable has been set for when the fields will be available for use.

“It’s not good to play where you practice,” James Mason, a representative for EYSA , told city council at a recent meeting.

Mason said teams had efficient places to play, but there is a need for more practice space, adding that approximately half of the practices would be held on the new fields.

The fields will lie on about 14 acres of property owned by Dow Corning, and the city is providing the commission support by agreeing to help maintain the property through mowing the grass, removing trash and keeping the gravel parking lot up to par.

The idea has been brewing in city council for a few months as the city has expressed certain reservations with the project, such as the condition of Locust Grove Road. Councilman Marty Fulkerson said in an earlier meeting that he did not believe the road could take an increase in traffic, which was reiterated by several other council members.

Mason told the council that EYSA estimated little additional traffic, with no more than 25 vehicles on the property at one time, though organizers plan to have room for about 50. And some teams carpool, lessening the burden on the roadway, he said. Mason said two entrances will be created in clear view of the road as well.

Plans for an irrigation system to properly tend to the fields also are on the table, and Mason said EYSA would likely ask the city to assist in paying for the water if installed. Mason expected a need for assistance in paying for some of the materials needed on site, such as topsoil, too. Additionally, EYSA will need to sow seed and acquire gravel for the parking lots.

Executive assistant Charlie Bryant said the city simply is providing the support needed to get the project off of the ground.

“They’ve done the leg work,” he said.

EYSA also has expressed interest in placing a restroom facility on the grounds at some juncture, but Bryant said the council would have to discuss this measure, as well as the irrigation system, in the future as these items have not received approval.

The Hardin County Planning Commission still has to approve the project because the property falls outside of city limits, Bryant said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762