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Soccer stadium dollars on hold

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen pushed off funding bleachers for a soccer stadium at Farragut Intermediate School at its meeting, Thursday, June 11.

Only Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche voted to immediately fund the $15,000 one-time request.

“We’re talking about infrastructure improvements here, the purchase of bleachers. We’re not talking about investing in a program that’s only going to be around for a year,” Terry Bobrowski, Farragut High School soccer booster representative, said.

The planned soccer stadium would serve both the Farragut High School boys and girls soccer programs during after-school hours, and FIS and Farragut Middle School children during school hours.

“We’re asking for an investment in an improvement that’s going to be enjoyed by fans and residents and visitors for many years to come,” he added.

“I think it’s an investment that will be recouped by visitors to this area.”

A new soccer facility could help Farragut attract tournaments, Bobrowski said.

Currently, the soccer field in front of FIS has no seating, no fence, no lights and no scoreboard.

The only facility available with such amenities is the narrow playing surface at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field, home of the football Admirals and the soccer programs’ former home.

“This really is the premier soccer program in the state of Tennessee,” Bobrowski said. “These teams have proven their mettle … they represent the town of Farragut very, very well.”

The FHS boys won its fifth Class AAA state championship in Murfreesboro in late May.

Over the past year, the soccer programs have received donations of time, money or materials from other entities, including $25,000 from Pilot Corporation and another $25,000 from alumni and families of current players.

LCUB has offered to donate time “to bring the power” from West End Avenue to the soccer field for the lights, David Stinton, FHS boys soccer boosters representative, said.

Another unnamed company has offered to install the 70-foot lights for free.

“I can certainly assure you, with every confidence, that should you decide to make an investment in the soccer stadium, that your investment would be protected and maintained over the long term,” Bobrowski told the Board.

“I’m very much in favor of supporting the soccer complex,” LaMarche said, adding her three daughters all played soccer.

Stinton said if the boosters were able to receive funds for the bleachers, he hoped the field would be ready for play (and for fans) by late summer.

During budget talks in May, the Board discussed having a grant application process for community groups requesting funds; Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer reiterated that idea Thursday night.

“Because we have so many organizations and people that ask for funding, and rightfully so, we want to make sure we’re fair in the distribution and fair in the process,” Palmer said.

He recommended the Board initiate a committee to study community donations, but since the soccer stadium funds were needed so quickly, Town staff should study requests until the committee be formed.

“I would applaud an effort to get a process going,” Alderman Jeff Elliott said.

Elliott asked if the Town had funded a school athletic facility’s construction in the past and received an answer in the negative. “So this would be a first then,” he said.

Alderman Bob Markli moved that the request be studied by staff and then be brought back to the Board; Elliott seconded. Only LaMarche voted against the motion.


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