What not so long ago was overgrown and unused land has been transformed into something much more. Pretty soon the youth soccer players of Montesano will have their very own turf. Many community members have been hard at work to collaborate the development of a new soccer park.
“It’ll be weather based,” says Chuck Fairbairn, president of the Montesano Youth Soccer Club. “If we have a spring like we did last year it might be closer to summer.”
The new park, located behind the city shop on Beacon Avenue, will have one full-sized field and one small field. That these project plans have come so far is a big and exciting step for the city and youth soccer. “They’ve attempted to build this field for about 20 years,” says Fairbairn. “It was always the intent to build some sort of sports park.”
The city has been has been very supportive of the soccer park from the get-go.
“The city of Montesano and especially the mayor and city council have been very supportive of this project as well as a number of community members,” says Erik Kupka, vice president of the Montesano Youth Soccer Club. “I’m humbled by the overwhelming community support for this project.”
About a year and a half ago when the city had work to do at the site behind the shop, they notified the soccer league that there was usable space. Since then, there have been capital campaign efforts to get the plans off the ground.
The league started the development process by clearing the land, a project that was paid for by private donations. The Grays Harbor Community Foundation also gave the soccer league a grant for lights, which is next up on the project plans. The league plans to continue their capital campaigning to help make the Beacon Soccer Complex a long lasting fixture in the community.
“We’re going to continue to raise funds,” Fairbairn says. “Our goal is to make it a multigenerational park…to give soccer a home in Montesano.”
Right now the fields have been leveled, planted with grass and a drainage system is being integrated. The park is located in the wetlands and because of that, it was noted that it needs more of a drainage system to be in place before allowing players on the field.
“We had a fairly dry summer and that showed us we needed to add some drainage,” says Fairbairn, gesturing to piping out on the full sized field.
The park will be open to the public, but on a walk-in only basis since there will be a locked gate unless there are games or practices taking place. Other youth clubs will be welcome to use the grounds, too, with football and baseball teams likely to use it as a practice space.
The Jack Rottle Field at the high school is currently the only full-sized soccer field in Montesano, so often times the youth soccer teams will have to practice on fields not originally designated for soccer. This year the soccer league had 354 players of boys and girls between the ages of five and fourteen. All of these players were spread over 36 teams with the community doing their best to accommodate the youth soccer league.
“We have good partnerships with the Montesano School District and the city of Montesano,” says Kupka. Even with the good partnerships, the move to the Beacon Soccer Complex when it opens will be a welcome transition as youth soccer settles into its new home.
“This’ll get a lot of the sports individualized to their own fields,” says Fairbairn, who has four children of his own in the youth soccer league.
The new park will not only mean a designated location for practices and games, but also the option to host youth soccer tournaments in Montesano for the first time. While being able to host tournaments is great in itself, it will also help to boost the local economy, says Fairbairn.
“We should be able to host tournaments, it’s one of the goals,” says Fairbairn.
When the current plans are complete, the fields will be fully lit and include a permanent restroom and concessions area. In addition, there will also be a recognition wall for the contributors of the park. The park is in a prime location to eventually expand beyond the soccer fields. It’s possible that one day a walking path will be built through the wetlands and even a playground.
For more donation information contact Chuck Fairbairn, Erik Kupka, or any of the board members, found here. You can also donate on the Grays Harbor Community Foundation website. Select “Montesano Youth Soccer Fund” under “donation options.”