YORK – The York County Commissioners have approved a $30,000 grant from the York County Visitors Improvement Fund for work the City of York will conduct at the York soccer fields near the fairgrounds.
Recently, the city took over the operations of the soccer fields after the municipality was informed the York Sports Authority was disbanding. The authority had historically leased the land from the ag society and maintained/operated the soccer fields. With no agency overseeing the soccer field property, the city stepped in.
The city now leases the property from the York County Ag Society.
The soccer fields are not in the best condition at this point and the city’s intention is to upgrade the property.
The city went to the York County Visitors Bureau Board to apply for a $30,000 grant from the county’s visitors improvement funds. This money is generated by the county’s lodging taxes and the visitors improvement funds are to help finance projects at existing attractions which bring visitors to the county.
YCVB Director Bob Sautter told the county commissioners Tuesday morning how the city brought the matter to the board, which unanimously agreed to the $30,000 grant.
Commissioner Stan Boehr asked if there would be any encouragement given to York University regarding that institution financially participating in the upgrade of the facility, as the university uses the facility.
York Mayor Barry Redfern, representing the city, said there would be some increased fees pertaining to field use.
“So they (the university) will come in with something?” Boehr asked.
“They are,” Redfern responded.
The mayor explained further, “When the sports authority said they were disbganding, we wanted to keep the soccer complex viable. But it’s not in good shape. We will focus on four fields instead of 12, for now, and we will be installing irrigation to make them really nice fields, something we can all be proud of. We want to turn it into a good asset for York and York County once again.”
Sautter said the improvements will likely bring back many soccer teams to York, as was seen in the early days of the complex.
“The improvement funds are for existing facilities, so this certainly qualifies,” Sautter said. “And if you want to know how we stand with funds at this point (in the lodging tax revenues for improvements) we have paid out everything except for an allocation of $45,000 and we have close to $300,000 in the fund. So we could easily afford their request.”
“This would be for beautification and signage, correct?” asked Commissioner Randy Obermier.
Sautter and Redfern said that would be the case. The signage project would include street signs to direct visitors to its location.
“We are seeing where a lot of football fields have been converted to turf because of the savings on manpower, watering, etc.,” said Commissioner Woody Ziegler. “Has there been any discussion of doing that at the soccer fields?”
Redfern explained how the city has taken on a $2.9 million project right now, at Levitt Stadium, to convert that to turf. “So we aren’t talking about doing that at the soccer fields at this point. In the future we’d also like to look at lighting at the soccer complex.”
He said the city’s expense at the soccer fields would already likely be in the ballpark of $250,000, “just to get this going.”
All the commissioners voted in favor of the $30,000 grant, to be taken from the visitors improvement fund.