New complex to benefit all ages

Amy Carton
An aerial view of the area where a new soccer complex is being proposed at Richmond Hill Park in Geneseo.

A new soccer complex being proposed in the City of Geneseo has the potential to bring not only events to the community, but income as well.

The new complex is slated to be constructed at Richmond Hill Park in the area where there currently are two baseball diamonds.

The Geneseo Youth Soccer Board is spearheading the project, which they hope will allow Geneseo to offer soccer tournaments for all age levels.

“The idea has been batted around for a few years, and we are currently pursuing quotes from several companies,” said Geneseo Youth?Soccer secretary Nathan Huddleston. “The concept we want to see is what is the best way to maximize Richmond Hill. We see this new complex benefiting youth soccer, club soccer and high-school soccer. This project has great potential.”

The land the soccer board looks to develop is the space in and around the current ball diamonds.

Plans call for the removal of the ball diamonds to make space for the soccer fields. The plan will include two full-size fields and also will allow for multiple field configurations for the younger players.

“Having playing and practice fields would benefit everyone,” said Huddleston. “The club teams would benefit by having enough space to host tournaments and hopefully the high school would also be able to host invitationals.

“Hosting tournaments will benefit the city as well with the use of hotels and restaurants. Huge events will generate income and draw people to Geneseo,” he said.

Since the soccer board is waiting on bids, the project is at a standstill. Before the project can move forward, the city council has to approve the project.

“The city won’t vote until we have more details,” said Huddleston. “And we can’t fund-raise until we have more details.”

“Youth soccer has expressed interest in doing work and creating a complex,” said Geneseo city alderman Ed Deener. “We asked them to come back to us with a plan, but we haven’t heard back from them.”

There currently are eight soccer fields at Richmond Hill, which are used for Geneseo Youth Soccer and Geneseo Soccer Club practices and games.

There is one regulation size field in the back of the park, four smaller fields in the outfield of the current ball diamonds, one at the entrance to the park and two additional fields around the diamonds.

“We hope this will be an asset for soccer development for kindergarten through high-school children,” said Huddleston.

Huddleston said the board is not anticipating using tax dollars and is looking to do this project through donations. Membership fees for Geneseo Youth Soccer will not be raised.

“Our desire is to have the details going into the fall so, after the spring season, we can do the work in the summer,” said Huddleston. “We are looking for the fields to be playable a year after we start work.

“Everything is a question mark right now, but with the community we have, I don’t see why we can’t get this done,” he said. “However, we want to do this right and don’t want to have to redo it. There is no reason to do anything unless it is done right.”

Huddleston said the board will need  help and hopes organizations and individuals who have expertise in particular areas will donate their time.

“With time, hopefully people will support this kind of project,” said Huddleston. “We want to offer more opportunities to play soccer.”

The board doesn’t anticipate having specific plans for a couple of months, said Huddleston. And at that time, Geneseo Youth Soccer representatives will go back to the city and based on approval will determine when work will begin.