Mayor White announces plan for soccer complex

HOUSTON Mayor Bill White today unveiled plans Thursday for a regional amateur sports complex to be built on Houston's south side. The Mayor joined community partners to discuss the future facility and to announce plans for a private fundraising campaign to support development.

The planned 100-acre, 18-field complex, bounded by Highway 288 and Kirby Drive will be on the east and west sides and Sims Bayou on the south. It will immediately become a soccer destination for regional and major tournaments.

"Throughout my time as mayor, Houstonians have told me that this type of facility is overdue," said Mayor Bill White. "The project will fill a great need and will help an area that, though once underutilized, is now in prime position for economic growth."

The first phase of the project provides for street and infrastructure improvements and construction of eight soccer fields at a cost of $10 million and is to be completed by December of 2009. Within the next 90 days, public works officials will present to city council plans for infrastructure to support the facility and a contract ready to be awarded for the extension of Kirby Drive.

Plans are being developed to make the complex the training home for the two-time MLS Cup Champion Houston Dynamo and its youth programs.

"We look forward to the Dynamo training on a daily basis at the Houston Amateur Sports Complex," Dynamo President/General Manager Oliver Luck said. "Hats off to Mayor White, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Houston Parks Board for recognizing that athletes of all ages – from professionals down to the toddlers – need quality fields on which to play and train. This complex promises to be one of the finest in the state."

The Houston Parks Board has agreed to participate in the effort to obtain funding for development of the facility. "In addition to soccer, the complex will provide opportunities for a variety of field sports, such as Lacrosse, which are growing in popularity in our city," said Parks Board Executive Director Roksan Okan-Vick.

The purchase of the land for the complex was approved by a unanimous vote of Houston's city council back in January.

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