About the Proposed Swope Soccer Complex
The Swope Park Soccer Complex has needed updated facilities for a long time. For Brookside Soccer Club, upgrades to the fields, restrooms, concessions and parking means that we finally have a facility that our organization needs. It allows us to expand our league to include more kids from the Kansas City metro who simply have never had the opportunity to play soccer.
Thanks to the hard work of 5th district at-large representative Cindy Circo, Mayor Sly James, Sporting KC and Brookside Soccer Club leadership, we now have the potential to access funds from the Winchester Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district located just to the East of Swope Park. If the TIF boundary is expanded to include Swope Park, the potential funding will finally let our community see the upgrades we’ve needed for many years.
As if you needed reminding…we desperately need better facilities!
Did you know that Brookside Soccer hosts more than 5,000 players and parents each weekend? That’s something like 110,000 visitors to the Swope Park fields each year! And that’s just for our league. The fields are used for cricket, rugby, college soccer practices and flag football.
It’s almost unimaginable that so many Kansas City residents use this facility on a regular basis. It has two ancient restrooms (often non-functioning or unpleasant to enter) and parking spaces for a few dozen vehicles. Cars jumping curbs, dodging potholes and avoiding kids are common sites on game day. As a stop gap, the league pays for four porta-potties, security, and two police officers to alleviate some of the issues. But our kids deserve better.
What will the Soccer Complex at Swope Park mean for BSC?
- Seven New fields: five natural turf and two with synthetic turf. Fields will be lighted and fenced for security and safety. Irrigation, bleachers and maintenance would be included
- Three new restroom and concession pods
- A playground
- 824 new parking spaces – enough to accommodate games on all fields
Will this change Brookside Soccer Club?
Brookside Soccer will continue to provide the same product that we do now: Affordable, community-run recreational and club soccer programs. Our priority is on providing the best soccer experience for kids at a price everyone can afford. And we mean everyone – we are a volunteer-run non-profit that’s dedicated to helping kids in our KC community.
The specifics for managing the new facility have not been finalized, but as it is currently envisioned, BSC will be the anchor tenant at the new facility.We will have priority use of the fields at an affordable rate for practices, games and our end of the season tournament.
One change will be the active promotion of our program to underserved schools in KC. We currently have participation from 120 separate schools, but we know that we can serve more kids at each school if we only had adequate facilities in which to grow. Part of the proposal from SportingKC will be to use the expanded classroom facilities at their existing facility for city-wide afterschool programs that would provide tutoring and soccer training for KC kids.
The Bottom Line…
This project WILL NOT HAPPEN without your help!
This is not an exaggeration. Although broad support exists for the project, there is disagreement within the TIF board about whether TIF funds should be used. The reality is, that without the TIF, there is no other source of significant funding.
The final vote is January 9, 2013 and the outcome is not clear.
We need to make certain that everyone on the TIF commission, and specifically our Jackson County commissioners office, knows that this is a project with broad community support. Without your help, the expansion may not pass and with its defeat, our one opportunity for a first-class facility will be lost.