Work on Center's new soccer complex advancing

Former Community Park has a new name with major makeover to Center Soccer Park

Center's new soccer complex has a name as of Monday, Jan. 13.

Located off of Ballard Street at the site of another former city park, the the Center City Council voted unanimously to name the complex “Center Soccer Park.” Officials agreed the name was simple and to the point of indicating it is both a part of the city's park system and intended for soccer play and practice.

City Manager Chad Nehring said the park site has been referred to by several names over the years with most of those associated with youth baseball and softball.

“Officially, it is Community Park, which has also been confusing as most people relate that to the Community House, which is actually in America Legion Park,” he said. Nehring said one of the components of the facility as it is transitioned into one focused mainly on soccer is for an enhanced entrance to match those at Portacool Park and Center Park.

He said the new sign is being constructed but needed a name to go on it.

“Users and those involved in the renovation have been asked and general suggestions were 'Center Soccer' complex, park or something similar, to denote the primary use for soccer,” Nehring said.

At the complex all electrical and irrigation work is being finalized and operational, he said. City staffers are installing a new water line while working on the entrance sign, fence mending and concession/restroom options.

Nehring said when the water line is completed preliminary grass seeding will be completed by city staff. He said fill dirt from the downtown streetscape project is being used to fill in low areas on the park land.

When the fill is sufficient the staff will spread asphalt millings received from TxDOT for use on the driveway and parking areas, he said.

Center Soccer Park covers about 21 acres and was the recipient of a $10,000 grant in August 2019 from the John Harris Community Fund for the new entrance sign and improvements.

The $10,000 grant was awarded to the Shelby County Youth Soccer Association through the City of Center for improvements at the new soccer fields being prepared for use by youth soccer teams next spring.

The Ballard Street Soccer Complex will have three adult soccer fields which can be divided into smaller fields for younger players, said Hector Pineda, president of the association.

We have about 200 kids in the program and it's growing,” Pineda said. Improvements being made to the fields have also been aided by donations from the Center Noon Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Center, he said.

The Harris Foundation Grant funds will fund construction of a stone monument park entrance at the soccer complex benefiting the Shelby County Youth Soccer program.

John Reagan Harris was a generous benefactor, giving both his time and his resources to many groups and worthy causes in and around Center,said Kyle Penney, President of East Texas Communities Foundation, at the time the grant was awarded. “The John Harris Community Fund was established to support worthy civic, religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational projects which benefit the Center, Texas community.”

Construction work has been slowed by we weather but is expected to be completed in coming months.

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