Fairhope, AL (WKRG)
Fairhope cuts the ribbon on a new soccer complex. The project has been years in the making. Even the addition of 40 more acres of playing space in Baldwin County may not be enough to fill a growing demand for footie. Kids cut the ribbon then kick the ball around to kick things off for the new Fairhope soccer complex. There’s a lot to like.
“It gots new goals,” said little soccer player Wednesday Johnson. Soccer supporters say older fields at Founders park weren’t cutting it. “We’ve always been at Founders and you can’t practice there because it has no drainage it’s always wet, so when this was coming, we’ve been so exciting looking forward to opening day,” said soccer mom Angela Shaw. Even with soccer facilities in Orange Beach, Foley, and Daphne, soccer supporters say this is hardly a case of oversaturation.
“Even the nine fields potentially in 2, 3, 4 years, we need maybe more? It is not, if you look at the papers, look at the data soccer is a growing sport,” said Fairhope Soccer Club President Dirk Flad. The City of Fairhope bought the land in 2009. The Fairhope Soccer club had been working on this project for the last 14 years. Supporters gradually raised the money through tax dollars, private fundraising, and grants.
“It’s one of those things that the community has been talking about and anticipating for so long I’m just happy that it’s finally open and that we can finally enjoy it,” said Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson. Organizers say there will be additional fundraising campaigns for more amenities as the facility and demand for sports fields grow.
Meanwhile back across the bay in Mobile County, the County commission voted down a large multi-million dollar soccer complex last summer. Commissioner Jerry Carl suggested an alternative plan in order to build a number of soccer fields at three locations in Mobile County in its place.