Corpus Christi, TX – Do you know that sense of pride and excitement when your child makes a pivotal play during a sporting event? A perfect pass, a goal, or a home run that makes you rise to your feet and cheer for your child and team. Sports build strong, healthy kids, families and communities, and is why I am supporting a new proposed regional sports complex, planned for the city’s Southside.
As vice president of the Coastal Bend Youth Soccer Association and Santa Fe Soccer Club, I see day in and day out the positive impact sports have on our children. Youth sports build confidence, teach children how to be part of a team, how to manage success as well as adversity. We have more than 3,000 children, ages 6—18, enrolled in our fall soccer programs, and demand keeps growing. Yet our city has limited game-appropriate fields currently, and we have NO adequate facility to host tournaments, which is a major fundraising tool for most sports clubs.
Tournaments (fundraisers) provide local clubs the ability to generate revenue that is used for ongoing operational costs, but more importantly, allows clubs to provide scholarships to players who would not otherwise have the ability to play. These are local kids that local clubs are serving and supporting.
Our young athletes deserve access to professionally maintained fields and facilities. The new complex will have a variety of indoor and outdoor fields to play baseball, softball, kickball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, flag football, lacrosse and sand volleyball. And have the amenities to make it worthy for out-of-town families to use and attend tournaments.
Partnerships are essential to make forward progress. The new complex by SQH Sports & Entertainment is a public/private partnership where the city provides a long-term lease on 68 acres of city-owned land on Crosstown Expressway, and SQH builds and operates the complex. No taxpayer money is used to build the sports park. The $18 million complex will be funded entirely by private investment. It takes the burden off the taxpayer and municipality, while allowing private companies to build and operate quality facilities that enhance the business landscape and quality of life for our residents.
This regional sports park will become a powerful economic driver for the city, and one our Convention & Visitors Bureau has endorsed. It is projected that the new sports complex will host more than 400,000 people yearly, and have an annual tourism economic impact of $21.5 million. Over the course of 10 years, the projected tax revenue the facility will generate is $18.8 million dollars. This complex becomes a sustainable economic venture for the city, while filling a much-needed niche.
Having coached for more than 10 years, and being a father of an athlete who plays varsity high school and premier level soccer, I have seen first-hand the value of investing in a top notch sports complex. It becomes a community asset. Not only will citizens and local sports teams use this facility, but it will attract sport tournaments of all kinds.
This sports complex will not be for “rich kids from out of town who participate in special tournament teams” as some have stated. This complex presents an opportunity for the hundreds of kids who travel each weekend from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, San Marcos, and beyond to play games the possibility to stay home, which they do not have right now. The ability to host first-class events in Corpus Christi that benefits all of our club players is an enticing thought indeed.
Tommy Lasorda, a Hall of Fame baseball player and manager, said, “In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”
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