The addition of 22 new soccer fields in Brownwood is currently underway at a cost of $2.2 million. The fields will be just off of Calvert Road, and will serve the city and county’s ever expanding interest in the sport of soccer. City leaders hope to attract tournaments from the Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin areas as those cities must not have soccer fields and their citizens will feel the need to travel to Brownwood to play on ours.
We asked several residents around town what they thought about the city’s undertaking of constructing the new fields. Joe Joe Hudson, winner of the 100 yard lawnmower drive in Blanket last weekend, offered his thoughts. “I’ve only seen soccer once or twice. It really didn’t spark much interest from me. If you want to see a real sport, come out to Blanket the last Friday in June for the lawnmower pull and race.” Julio Martinez-Sanchez had a different view, “I tank it’s great vato. Brownwood has many kids who love to play the game of futbol. We are getting new kids moving in here all the time and the new ones always want to play futbol. We aren’t always sure where they come from, but regardless, they love futbol”
A poll conducted over the weekend by the Examiner found that only 17% of Brownwood’s registered voters know what soccer is, whereas 94% of unregistered voters said that they have participated in a soccer tournament at some point in their life. This poll is not scientific and has a margin of error of +/-4%.
The soccer fields have been planned for awhile now, but due to the drought, building of the fields was placed on hold as the city was afraid that there would not be enough water available. “Twenty-two new soccer fields during a drought may be an unpopular decision”, parks and rec manager Harold Smitherman states, “..but we’re in negotiations with NRG Holdings to purchase the original Astroturf that the Houston Oilers played on.” Not only will the astroturf save millions of gallons of water per year, the turf has a historical value, and one Brownwood leader who asked to remain anonymous stated that, “astroturf has proven to be much safer than grass to play on over the years, and we also hope that having this turf will attract soccer games from the greater Houston area.”
Citing the increased revenues the soccer fields are expected to bring in, some community leaders are considering using the hotel occupancy tax to offer tax abatements to a new dollar store franchise called ‘Waldo’s Dólar Mart de México’ The store would be built adjacent to the soccer complex.
The fields are scheduled to open by Fall 2015.
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