A representative with a local youth soccer organization has unveiled upcoming plans to start construction of a multi-use indoor facility set to begin in the summer.
Mike Robinson, with the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association (KEYSA), said the organization has received a license of occupation and submitted a building permit application for a location at Balment Park and hopes to break ground in August and be finished by October.
Robinson said the organization has raised roughly $1.2 million in cash or in-kind donations for the estimated $1.5 million budget.
“We have submitted a building permit application to the city and look forward to realizing our fundraising goal,” Robinson said. “The facility will be located adjacent the Cranbrook Curling Centre and will provide 25,000 square feet of artificial turf replicating field conditions for year-round use by a diversity of user groups.”
While internal construction and logistic plans have been underway for the last six months, Robinson says he is still seeking out fundraising opportunities through sponsorships or grants to make up the remainder.
The latest successful grant, to the tune of $50,000 in funding, was provided by the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust. A significant $5000,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust was awarded to KEYSA and is extended to the end of this year, according to Robinson.
Individual donations to the project can also be made through the Kootenay Rockies Community Foundation.
The facility will provide 25,000 square feet of artificial turf replicating field conditions for sports such as soccer, lacrosse, football, and is envisioned to be a multi-use space for events such as conferences or trade shows.
“We’re extremely excited. It’ll be nice to see it complete, it’ll be nice to see people using it,” Robinson said. “We’ve gone through another winter of playing in the gyms and going to tournaments where they do have a facility like this and it can’t be underestimated what this will do for all the different user groups, so we’re pretty happy to be here.
The debate over the indoor facility has simmered over the last few years and emerged as a key issue during the municipal election two years ago.
While Balment Park is touted as a central community location, particularly for students at Mount Baker Secondary School and Laurie Middle School, concerns have been raised about impacts to the nearby BMX park, the Cranbrook Curling Centre, and on community events such as Sam Steele Days.
Construction was timed to occur after Sam Steele Days, Robinson said, while also noting that the city has been in discussions with the Cranbrook BMX society in the event of any impact or modifications to the existing track.
“We’ve contributed funds to that, but the discussion on that project, the city has taken it on and I’m assuming that the BMX association will have to have some input on design,” Robinson said. “We would try to coordinate construction as best as possible; just see if there’s any cost-savings or synergies, if there’s equipment already down there, we had some earlier meetings to see what we could do to work together with that.”
KEYSA has earmarked $10,000 to help with any potential modifications to the BMX track, Robinson said. The City of Cranbrook has also committed funds to moving the BMX track when the project is ready, according to staff.
With spring approaching, KEYSA is gearing up for another youth soccer season and recently expanded and filled it’s board with additional positions after some long-term members retired.
“We filled those positions as well as added another four positions, I believe, so we have a larger board, a more diverse board. It includes members from Cranbrook and Kimberley,” Robinson said. “it includes members who are sitting on other association boards and the diversity of that perspective has really got it in a good place.”
KEYSA house soccer registration for kids between ages of 4-16 years old is open until April 1.