Swope Park Upgrade Targeted

Swope for Web 2
The ‘arms race’ in soccer facilities continues as Kansas City is now proposing a $23 million upgrade to the Swope Park facility to attract tournaments and the related ‘out-of-town families and their money’.

Via the KC Star – A $23.1 million plan championed by city officials to expand the soccer complex at Swope Park and make it more appealing for lucrative amateur tournaments got a rough reception Wednesday over its proposed financing method.

The plan has the backing of Mayor Sly James and Kansas City Councilwoman Cindy Circo, whose district includes the soccer complex. But the funding proposal ,which calls for expanding an adjacent tax-increment financing plan and using $11.1 million that’s accumulated in its account since 1991, has other taxing jurisdictions crying foul.

“This is truly a funding issue,” said Scott Jacoby, who represents Jackson County on the Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission. “We are being treated as an additional piggybank by the city to fund their parks and recreation.” In a 6-5 vote, the TIF Commission voted to postpone its recommendation on amending what’s called the Winchester Center TIF Plan until January.

The Soccer Village plan would dramatically improve what is now a three-field complex and training facility built five years ago at a cost of $4.1 million by the Sporting Kansas City professional soccer club. It’s located on the edge of the park near 63rd Street and Hardesty Avenue.

The plan calls for adding seven fields with lighting; enlarging the professional athletic facility, and building new amenities such as restrooms, bleacher seating and parking.

Backers say it would help meet the strong demand for more fields by local amateur players and attract tournaments that bring out-of-town families and their money. Read more here.

KSHB Channel 41 also covered the meeting, video below. Click on the photo at right of the existing facility to see it full size