Plans for an indoor turf facility for soccer and other sports are moving ahead after the Council Bluffs City Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of the project.
“This is a really exciting development,” Councilwoman Sharon White said Monday. “As a former soccer mom, I want to thank all those involved in making this happen.”
The Iowa West Foundation initiative announced earlier this month calls for a 75,000-square-foot building south of 23rd Avenue in the Mid-America Center entertainment district.
The multisport complex is estimated to cost $7 million, with funding coming from the Iowa West Foundation and other grant sources.
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“The placement of the facility within the Mid-America Center entertainment district will only continue to add to the synergy happening in that area,” said Pete Tulipana, president and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation.
Dubbed the Iowa West Sports Plex, the facility will be operated by the Council Bluffs Soccer Club.
The fields can be used for youth soccer, baseball, softball, flag football and other sports, in addition to adult leagues.
“Similar to what we’ve witnessed with the Iowa West Field House, the Iowa West Sports Plex will provide a much-needed home for our young athletes to be able to play the sports they love all year-round and not have to travel outside of our community to do so,” Tulipana said.
The field house has eight basketball courts that can be converted to 12 volleyball courts because the hoops and nets come down from the ceiling.
Approaching its third year of operation, the field house hosted competitive events during 35 of the 51 weekends after its opening, including 25 events for which the facility was booked Friday through Sunday.
Iowa West spokeswoman Nicole Lindquist said more than 250,000 people passed through the field house doors in its first 12 months, resulting in almost 1,700 stays in area hotels.
Shane Hoss, treasurer of the Council Bluffs Soccer Club and a volunteer coach, said of the planned new sports complex: “There’s been a need in the soccer community for quite some time. Baseball needs it just as much, and so do the softball and flag football teams.
“This is a great opportunity for all kids to play in a state-of-the-art facility, and we couldn’t have done it on our own.”
Hoss said the Soccer Club will hire a full-time manager, as well as part-time workers, for the facility.
Stacy Nelson of Council Bluffs, the mother of multisport athletes, noted the similarities between the success of the field house and the potential for the turf sports complex.
“We want our kids to be involved in Council Bluffs clubs, but if we don’t have the facilities to practice and play year-round, it limits our options,” she said.