BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — A new youth soccer complex may soon be coming to Bloomington’s Southside.
Wednesday night, the planning commission unanimously agreed to annex unincorporated land into its boundaries for the project.
F.C. Central Illinois and the City of Bloomington are kicking off plans for a new youth soccer complex.
“You’re talking eight soccer fields, full-sized soccer fields total, parking, a concession stand, restroom, lights,” said club secretary Jeremy Kelley.
The club currently plays at Community Fields near Central Illinois Regional Airport. But, has been searching for a new home due to them being too close to the runway per Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.
Kelley said it’s been an issue for a while, but they will no longer be able to play at their current home by the end of the year.
“The last time we signed a lease five years ago with the airport, it was perfectly clear this is it,” Kelley said.
Kelley said other plans last year fell through. Now they’re planning to take over the Sale Barn fields off Hamilton Road near south Main Street. The lot is currently undeveloped farmland and has been home to recreational soccer in the past.
“We’ll be taking over basically where those existing fields are and all the grassy, farm area around that,” Kelley said.
At the minimum, the project would cost $2.5 million but could get higher depending on how much the club can fundraise. Kelley said the goal is to get the project moving as quickly as possible.
“We would love to get in there in the fall and I hope we can, but our fallback is we do have Community Fields through the end of this year,” Kelley said.
Wednesday night, Bloomington’s planning commission agreed unanimously to annex Sale Barn Fields into the city property lines. This would allow the soccer club to hook on to city sewer and water facilities.
Bloomington’s deputy city manager, Billy Tyus said the project would help develop an area they’ve been looking to improve for years.
“It allows for opportunities for others to come into our community who will play soccer against our teams, but shop at our stores and eat at our local restaurants,” Tyus said.
Kelley says the facility would be big enough to host 40-50 team tournaments on weekends.
The final step is approval from the city council, and Tyus expects this to be on one of the agendas later this month.