County sets price for soccer fields

The Clallam County Parks Department hasn't headed the soccer field project in for a goal yet, but it's close.

Parks staff has reached an agreement with the Agnew Helpful Neighbors Club on a purchase price for seven acres of land that hold two soccer fields in the Agnew area.

The Clallam County commissioners approved the purchase agreement at their Nov. 4 meeting.

The cost for the fields will be $361,000. County Public Works director Craig Jacobs said the purchase of the land is contingent on a grant that may be administered next year through the Washington state Recreation and Conservation Office.

"We applied for the grant early this spring and the project has ranked relatively high for final approval," said Jacobs, who said funding for the fields ranked 15th out of more than 80 submitted grant applications.

"While the (Recreation and Conservation Office) has us listed rather high, final approval of the grant will be decided in the state Legislature's 2009 session."

The Agnew Helpful Neighbors decided late last year they needed to sell the property in order to gain equity to continue the scholarship program the club administers each year.

The club first approached the county as a buyer in order to avoid development on what Jacobs calls two of the nicest soccer fields in the county.

"We really hope we can make this work, otherwise families in the Port Angeles and Sequim areas will really be hurting for available soccer fields," he said. "We've been fortunate to have this club be so helpful in the negotiations."

During talks to set a price for the land, the club offered to donate $61,000 of the purchase price. The state grant would pay for half, leaving the county to match the other half.

The $61,000 will count toward the county's match, which makes budgeting for the purchase much easier. Jacobs said funds have been available in 2008 and will continue to be available in 2009 for the county's part of the purchase once the grant receives final approval.

"The county can ill afford to lose two soccer fields, especially those constructed to this level of quality," Jacobs said. "I think if we were to pursue constructing two fields of this caliber at another location, we would be looking at a cost similar to what we would pay for this land."

The Storm King Soccer Club and its volunteers constructed the fields. The club has maintained the land and organized soccer leagues on it since its construction about 15 years ago at 1240 N. Barr Road, just south of Old Olympic Highway.

Jacobs said the county has no interest in running soccer leagues and more than likely will draft an agreement with the soccer club to continue its maintenance and management of the fields and soccer league, should the purchase go through.

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