Aerial view of the future Congaree Rapid Soccer facility located on the Southern Complex of the Historic Columbia Speedway. This project is estimated at $300,000 to make a reality. If you know of a corporate sponsor or developer that could assist us in building this facility, please contact a CRSA Board member
ColaDaily.com - 5.13.14 - Rachel Ham
The work of the Penny for Progress Commission is coming to a close as the appointed residents soon will submit their final project rankings for ballot placement. Voters then will get a say on whether the penny sales tax should be enacted and which projects the revenue should fund.
Much of the discussion at Monday’s commission meeting revolved around a proposed $12.1 million sports complex near the State Farmers Market. The project, submitted by the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission, includes seven soccer fields and eight indoor volleyball courts.
The commissioners during a prior meeting batted around the idea to elevate the project’s ranking if they thought it would have a significant economic impact. After hearing from LCRAC Executive Director Randy Gibson, Congaree Rapid Soccer Association Executive Director Kevin Heise and Eric Shick, director of Magnum Volleyball Club, the commisioners voted to move the project’s ranking up and give it more support for voter consideration.
Commissioner Lee Bussell suggested splitting the complex into two projects — one for the soccer fields and one for the indoor court facility — and the rest of the group agreed. Instead of being ranked at No. 91 on the lengthy list of submissions, the sports complex now is ranked No. 77 (soccer fields) and No. 78 (indoor courts).
The project was switched with a selection of dirt roads that were submitted for paving; the road repaving now is ranked No. 92.
The commissioners voted in May that a first tier of high-priority projects total between $260 million and $270 million in case the tax generates less than the estimated $290 million. They also agreed a secondary set of lower-priority projects totaling approximately $90 million be ranked and placed on the ballot in the event more revenue is generated.
The sports complex currently falls in the lower-priority tier of projects but is scheduled to be listed on the ballot.
“I feel like this project will not only improve the lives of citizens but will also have a positive economic impact,” Gibson said.
The complex is designed to draw large soccer and volleyball tournaments to the area. In advocating for the project to the commissioners, Heise said out-of-town players, coaches, spectators and parents would contribute to Penny for Progress funds by way of spending money in Lexington County.
The complex also is expected to generate money from each tournament it hosts. Instead of being used primarily for recreation as other sports complexes in the area are, Gibson said the new facilities would be “pay to play” and dedicated to revenue-producing tournaments.
Local teams must travel to cities with large complexes when they play in tournaments. Heise said the US Youth Soccer National Championship generates $3.5 million annually in Rock Hill and that the Aiken Soccer Cup produces $500,000.
“Those are dollars that could be staying here,” Gibson said. “Why not Lexington?”
Shick said the proposed indoor court facility would be the first of its kind in the Midlands and agreed with Heise that the county’s central location in the state makes in an ideal candidate for events.
“Volleyball is one of the fastest-growing youth sports,” he said. “This is an opportunity to bring people who we are missing to Lexington.”
Commissioners earlier in the project ranking process questioned why the complex was so large. Heise said Monday that the seven recommended fields would make the site a “destination” and more of a draw to tournament planners.
The Congaree Rapid Soccer Association estimates that $100,000 annually would be generated from field fees and 30,000 visitors would come for the regular matches alone.
More than 100 emails in favor of the sports complex project were submitted by residents through the Penny for Progress website. But not everyone is on board with the idea of the sales tax.
West Columbia resident Mike Green is one vocal opponent of the tax and has started a “Stop Penny Tax in Lexington” Facebook page.
Green said his disapproval of the tax stems from skepticism over job creation and revenue production numbers predicted by the entities that submitted projects.
“The government overpromises on what it will deliver,” he said. “No one taxes themselves into prosperity.”
Green agreed that area roads do need repairs and more funding. If the tax does pass, he is concerned that non-transportation projects like recreation and municipal buildings will take up too much of the revenue.
“If a project like a sports complex is profitable, why isn’t the private sector doing them?,” he asked.
There has not been much opposition of the tax during the public comment portion of the Penny for Progress meetings. Green attributed that to the timing of the meetings, which typically are held in the morning during workdays.
Green said that after talking with other residents, he thinks the referendum will fail with only 40 percent of the vote. If it does pass, he predicted it will be renewed in the future as has happened in places like York County, which is in the third round of its Pennies for Progress program.
“People get used to the tax,” Green said.
The Penny for Progress Commission will meet for the final time at 3 p.m. Thursday in Lexington County Council Chambers. The commissioners will review and approve their final project rankings and ballot question.
The latest ranking from the Penny for Progress Commission can be found online.
Penny For Progress - Interactive Map - http://www.pennyforprogresslex-co.org/projects_map.php#.U--keKNeJ8E
West Columbia, SC – The U.S. Soccer Foundation has awarded a grant to the Congaree Rapid Soccer Association (CRSA) to support the development of soccer fields on the campus of the Historic Columbia Speedway in Cayce.
The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States, announced that it has awarded 37 grants totaling more than $1.8 million to non-profit organizations serving youth in underserved communities across the nation.
In its continued effort to grow the game of soccer and utilize it to improve the positive health and social outcomes for children, the U.S. Soccer Foundation awards grants to support soccer programming and field-building initiatives nationwide. Non-profit organizations eligible to receive grant funding include those that provide children with the opportunity to play soccer and provide programming aimed at keeping children in under-resourced communities active, healthy, and safe.
“Our goal at the U.S. Soccer Foundation is to provide children with access to quality soccer programs that support both physical and personal development,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We are pleased to support organizations that not only help grow the game of soccer, but make a positive impact on the lives of the children and families in their communities.”
37 awards were distributed this grant cycle, with 19 bestowed as part of the Safe Places to Play program. The “Safe Places to Play” program seeks to build or enhance field spaces in underserved areas in order to provide spaces that are safe for children to play soccer. To date, the Foundation has helped create or improve more than 1,000 safe places for children nationwide.
“The Congaree Rapid Soccer Association is delighted to receive this tremendous support from the U.S. Soccer Foundation,” said Kevin Heise, Executive Director. “This recognition is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation by a very dedicated committee who share a vision of developing quality soccer fields in the Cayce-West Columbia communities.”
Support for the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s grant process is provided by the Foundation’s corporate partners, including: FieldTurf; Hunter Industries; Musco Sports Lighting; PEVO Sports; Soccer.com; and Sport Court. Since its inception in 1994, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has now awarded more than $60 million in grant awards to non-profit organizations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The Congaree Rapid Soccer Association was founded in 1993 and serves more than 350 boys and girls youth soccer players ages 8-18. CRSA’s principle membership includes players from downtown Columbia, Cayce, and West Columbia, but also draws youth from across the Midlands. The soccer club operates as a 501(c)(3) organization and is a member of the West Metro Chamber of Commerce. Site plans have been developed for the Historic Columbia Speedway in Cayce and the club is working to secure financial capital to support this project. The estimate for development of the property is $300,000 and CRSA is actively pursuing financial assistance to fund this endeavor. If you or a business entity would like to contribute to this worthwhile project, please contact Executive Director Kevin Heise at email@example.com.
About the U.S. Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation is a recognized leader in sports-based youth development programs for children in underserved, urban communities. Since its founding in 1994, the organization has provided more than $60 million in funding to create and sustain innovative programs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Proven to deliver positive health and social outcomes, the Foundation’s affordable initiatives offer safe environments in which both boys and girls thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org to learn more.
September 15, 2013
The Congaree Rapid Soccer Association (CRSA) is pleased to announce a formal agreement with the Historic Columbia Speedway (HCS), managed by Sellers & Son Holding Company, on a 10-year lease for the development and use of a private soccer facility in Cayce, South Carolina. The agreement also includes an additional 10-year option after the year 2023.
CRSA, founded in 1993, has served the Cayce-West Columbia and downtown Columbia youth soccer communities for more than 20 years. Currently, CRSA has more than 350 boys and girls soccer players ages 8-18 from throughout the Midlands. This Fall season, CRSA has 24 teams competing as members of the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association.
The famed HCS is located just five minutes from downtown Columbia and two miles east of the I-77 and I-26 intersection, making it a convenient destination for all types of events. Known in the past for hosting legendary half-mile Stock Car Auto Racing, the HCS is now renowned for offering a multitude of outdoor activities: Car Shows; Carnivals; Charity Walks and Runs; Concerts; Corporate Outings; Cycling Events; Festivals; Military Reenactments; Movie Nights; Recreational Vehicle and Boat Shows; Sporting Events; Trade Shows; and Yard Sales.
Designs for the development of the Southern Complex (11.4 acres) include a long-term plan for a 4-6 field soccer-specific facility complete with: Bermuda grass; canteen; clubhouse; grandstand; irrigation; lighting; and restrooms. Upon completion, CRSA plans to host club soccer tournaments, league matches, camps, clinics, and high school tournaments with the flexibility to expand on these endeavors.