by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
Dozens of young soccer players finally got to use their hands when they helped dig the first shovelfuls of dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony for three new soccer fields in Otsego.
“It was awesome,” said Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp of the groundbreaking event. “The grading is done. The whole thing is in the works.”
Though most of the hard work is done, the field still needs to be seeded and only time will make the grass ready for play, most likely early June 2014. The new fields are located on city-owned land directly to the west of City Hall and across the street from Prairie Park. There will also be a new parking lot adjacent to the fields.
The project is a collaboration between the city of Otsego and Three Rivers Soccer Association, or TRSA. About 1,200 kids currently play for TRSA in Otsego, Elk River, Rogers and Zimmerman.
“TRSA started in 1975 and moved to our first soccer fields in Otsego,” TRSA President Steve Zoubek said. “Over the years, we have invested in field development partnerships across our communities in order to ensure our members have quality fields for youth soccer well into the future.”
The cost of the project is estimated to be just more than $300,000. TRSA has committed to a donation of $100,000 to the project cost over several years, with the balance funded by the city using monies dedicated by developers for park facility construction.
“The city of Otsego is excited to enter into this partnership with TRSA to work together to develop needed athletic fields given the continued growth of our community,” Otsego Parks and Recreation Manager Ross Demant said.
The large group of soccer kids at the groundbreaking, all dressed in bright uniforms, had one additional task to complete that wasn’t on the adults’ checklist. They all ran across the street to the splash pad at Prairie Park and got soaked, uniforms and all.
Stockamp watched the soccer kids, including her own children, splashing and laughing.
She said, “It’s just perfect. They get hot and sweaty playing soccer. Then they can run over there and cool off.”