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North Polk United Soccer

Bond Vote for Polk City Recreational Facilities to Take Place in August 2015.

If you are a parent of a child who has participated in soccer or baseball/softball, you are well aware of the lack of recreational facilities and green space in our community. This has been an ongoing issue for almost a decade and has reached a critical tipping point in meeting the needs of our youth and community. We feel that supporting the expansion and this bond issue is incredibly important for the future of Polk City.

Present Soccer Concerns and Issues

Club Size
Our club has seen tremendous growth over the past decade and much more rapid growth recently. The North Polk United Soccer Club added 80 kids from Fall 2013 to Fall 2014 and our club size rivals that of some larger communities in the Des Moines metro. In the fall of 2014 447 kids signed up and participated in our recreational soccer program alone. Our estimated growth projects us at 600 kids by 2018.

Current Fields vs. Future Expansion
Our current situation will not meet our needs for long. Last Fall Season alone, we had 47 teams playing on our fields. Fifteen of those teams practiced and played on the equivalent of one field of space (U14 field share all U14+ and U10). The Spring Season typically sees us having to couple additional field spaces together because we lose access to the baseball/softball fields at that time. Additionally, the wear and tear on the baseball/softball fields is doubled because they do not get time to recoup from the Spring/Summer Season.

This Spring Season will allow a small amount of respite as we will move U12 practice and games to the old high school football field and all games for U14+ will be played on the turf field at the North Polk High School. While it will help with scheduling and field usage, it still splits our club up and adds extra work to facilitate all of the club’s needs.

The plan for expansion will include 18 soccer fields. The current plan includes the following: U6–3 fields, U8–4 to 6 fields, U10–4 to 5 fields, U12–2 to 3 fields, U14+–3 to 4 fields). We may not completely develop all of the field space into full soccer fields at once but will have the green space available for expansion and additional use for other sports. Please note that this is still in the planning phase so changes will likely occur.

Safety and Congestion

Parking
The field expansion will alleviate a number of concerns. Our current setup divides the fields with the parking lot, which causes understandable concern for kids’ and parents’ safety when crossing back and forth to vehicles, concession stands and bathrooms. It is also evident that parking is becoming very difficult during games because there is overlap when kids are playing and arriving for the next game, especially during the shared Spring Season with baseball/softball. Removing the U12 and U14+ games from the complex for this season should help with congestion. Unfortunately, we do not have the same access to fields in the Fall Season that we do in the Spring Season so it needs to be considered and dealt with regularly.

Fields
The fields have become extremely hard due to all the seasons of wear and tear without rest. A cleated shoe running on a field compacts the soil at a higher rate than a heavy piece of equipment. And thousands of feet run on the fields each and every season. It makes it more dangerous for a fall and can be harder on joints. Without additional space we cannot rest our fields and care for them properly.

Planning for Tomorrow
Our ultimate goal is to see this bond approved and the recreational facilities realized. We want to make sure the North Polk Soccer Club provides our youth with the best opportunity possible for the money invested. With the growth we’ve seen, it has been the ongoing intent of the board to provide the best, safest facilities we can. But without available green space to rest our current fields, we are required to make due with what we have available. Another consideration that may become a reality if things do not change is limiting the number of kids who can participate because of limited resources and field space.

The Bond Issue

What the Bond Contains and Things to Consider
The bond issue plans for a new soccer complex, redeveloped baseball/softball complex and an aquatic center. The current recreational complex will be used entirely for baseball/softball needs. The aquatic center will be built on the west end (entrance side) of the Technology Park and will be adjacent to the soccer complex.

You can view the plans for all three complexes here: Recreation Facilities PDF

Aquatic Center
In order to take this bond issue to a vote, it was decided by the city council that the aquatic center be an integral part of this vote. A website has been set up to provide more information about the bond as it becomes available. Factual information, statistics and benefits related to the bond will be added over the next month so please keep checking the site for additional information. We will try to keep our soccer club abreast of any new information that has been added.

Visit the informational site: http://www.polkcityrecreation.com/

Some additional things to consider.
While some of these things are still in committee for discussion, finalizing and approval, the benefits to Polk City and its economy are great. Economic impact will be greater with the option to host tournaments, increase tourism and benefit our commercial tax base, which lessens the personal tax burden on residents.

As other residents move to Polk City, the tax burden is also spread to those new residents as well, which should lessen the length of the bond.

There is a good possibility that trail expansion is an option and could connect the Neal Smith Trail with the High Trestle Trail through Polk City, which would also add to safe recreational opportunities for our residents and the tourism tax base.

How Can You Get Involved?
If you would like to get involved with the passage of the bond issue, please contact the Polk City Development Corporation through their website at http://www.polkcitydevelopment.com/.

Join the Discussion
We want to encourage discussion on this issue. Join in and let us know what is important to you. The site for open discussion can be found at http://polkcityyouthrecreation.mindmixer.com/.