City approves field improvements at Ringhaver

By Susanna P. Barton


It’s lights, soccer, action at Ringhaver Park’s soccer fields now that the Jacksonville City Council approved more than $188,000 for new lighting and electrical improvements. The council sealed another 10-year license agreement between the city and the Westside Soccer Club for use and management of soccer programming at Ringhaver Park.

“This project involves a private-public venture approach which is a great example of community working with city government to address the needs of the community,” said Bob Olson, Westside Soccer Club in an email sharing the news. “As you can imagine, the club is over the moon with this great news to address a significant need and meet the continuing growth of our soccer participation.”

The improvement bill, approved during the mid-June city council meeting, appropriates $188,500 to the park’s lighting project. More than $78,000 of that total are from the Ringhaver Park Improvement account, while $25,000 came from private contributions. About $84,000 came from District 14’s Autumn Bond funds, according to the legislative summary.

Westside Soccer Club also will be paying for 25 percent of the soccer fields’ electric bill each year.

As part of the plan, the funds will use the funds and donations to fully light one soccer field. Utilities for the lighting of two additional fields at the park also will be installed, as well as electrical service to a park concession stand.

Olson said the lights will be installed this summer, when fewer players utilize the fields. M Gay Constructors Inc. and Musco Sports Lighting LLC will install the fields’ lighting, according to the ordinance.

Westside Soccer Club is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established in 1997. It first partnered with the city in 2002 to open the soccer complex at Ringhaver as the number of participants began to climb to about 1,000. The club’s size grew larger in 2009 following its merger with Oakleaf Futbol Club. The two groups now represent more than 4,500 players and families.


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