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Board funds soccer bleachers

By a narrow 3-2 vote, Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to fully fund a set of bleachers for Farragut High School’s planned soccer stadium.

Mayor Ralph McGill, Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche and Alderman Bob Markli voted to grant FHS soccer boosters $15,000 to buy one set of bleachers for the new complex at the Board’s meeting, Thursday, Aug. 13.

“We feel it’s a very worthy project, but we’re all soccer people,” soccer booster representative Terry Bobrowski said.

“Not only is it great for our city, but when they bring out of town people to play here, it just adds extra revenue for us, for our Town,” LaMarche said.

“Hundreds of people come in for these events, and they stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores,” Markli said.

“These folks have been so successful … I feel like the Town really needs to put some muscle behind it,” he added.

Alderman Jeff Elliott said he recognized the project as a good one, but was reluctant to spend nearly one-third of the Town’s total $50,000 community grant fund pool on one donation.

The soccer boosters’ request has been the only one to come before the Board thus far, and was the first to use the Town’s new grant application system.

In the future, Elliott said, the Town should designate an application window so all groups would have equal footing in the request process (avoiding a first-come, first-served scenario).

Elliott and Alderman John Williams voted to partially fund the soccer bleachers with a $5,000 donation.

“I’m fully supportive of these endeavors; however, I am not prepared to expend the sum of our allotted budgetary allotment for this purpose this early in the fiscal calendar year,” Williams said.

Williams added he found it “incredibly frustrating” that premier sports programs had no permanent home, citing the rugby and lacrosse teams at FHS, as well as the soccer teams.

He also said the rugby and lacrosse teams would not be able to use the soccer field, just as they could not use the football field.

“It’s only a matter of time before those organizations start clamoring for funds for these kinds of facilities,” Williams said.

“We’re going to have all the Hardin Valley organizations … I just want everyone to prepare for the fact the floodgates are going to open up once we support this kind of endeavor.

“From a budgetary standpoint, unless you’re willing to slam doors, you better be prepared to deal with it,” he added.

The soccer field, adjacent to Farragut Intermediate School, will be used by FHS soccer teams in season, as well as by Farragut Intermediate and Middle schools students.

Other entities and individuals have donated materials, money or time to the soccer complex, including LCUB and Pilot Corp., that donated $25,000.

Knox County School Board has not donated to the project.

The field will be fenced, lit and, now, have at least one set of bleachers.


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