As teams hit the pitch for the fall soccer season on Saturday, August 28, plans for an expanded Carlisle Soccer Complex were unveiled for a crowd of around 75 players, parents and supporters. The plan calls for doubling of the current complex and improvements including underground irrigation, a new concession stand, restrooms and a full-sized, lighted soccer field.
"Since the soccer club was re-generated about seven years ago, we found the money for the things that we needed right away, including a lawn mower, the above-ground sprinkler, the concession stand and, just this past spring, electricity, a new pump and motor," says Mark True, Club president. "We also secured a long-term lease on our property so now we’re able to look down the road and, strategically, seek larger donors and grants to achieve bigger goals."
The Carlisle Soccer Club board of directors went through a two-month-long master planning process under the guidance of Des Moines-based RDG Planning/. The four-phase expansion and enhancement plan calls for the addition of irrigation to current fields and expansion of the complex to 27 acres. A park-like plaza area will feature a natural play area for kids and a wetlands will be created in the flood-prone area of the property.
"It could be a decade or more to reach completion of the vision, depending upon our success in raising funds, but we now know our destination," says True. "We’ve moved around town to different locations, saved our pennies and won several grants to make and maintain a home at our current location, and this is our vision for making it even better."
The expansion will happen in four phases, the first of which will cost around $175,000, and include a new parking lot and entry along the northern edge of the complex, extensive seeding and field preparation, fencing, underground irrigation and preparing existing area of the complex for new fields. Phase 2 includes irrigation of more fields, landscaping and additional field preparation for around $220,000. Phase 3 includespreparation of and installation of irrigation of new fields on an additional 12 acres, security lighting and a gravel parking lot for around $525,000. Phase 4 includes a new expanded concession stand with restrooms, a full-size (120 yds. x 80 yds) pitch, bleachers, lighting and fencing for just under $1 million.
As outlined in the plan, the retail cost to complete the project is $2 million, but Club leaders expect to reduce those costs by using in-kind labor and donated materials, where possible. The board will be seeking larger grants and meeting with corporate donors who have a connection to supporting soccer, and who want to see quality of life in the southeast metro area improve.
At the unveiling, Carlisle Mayor Ruth Randleman (pictured above right, talking to Doug Adamson of RDG Planning) showed her support for the plan and said it fits very well with the city’s master plan, which includes a recreational area surrounding the soccer complex.
"Carlisle’s turn to get into the game"
"With a new long-term lease in place and a well-documented master plan, we’re better positioned to go after larger grants and donations from national organizations, including the United States Soccer Association," says Lisa Wilson, director of fund raising. "Other soccer clubs in Central Iowa have won these grants, and now it’s Carlisle’s turn to get into the game."
"Our community doesn’t have a history of having a lot of money for projects like this, but time and time again, members of our community have stepped up to offer their labor, their good ideas and their support whenever we’ve asked," says True. "Now, there’s a goal that we all can see, very clearly."
The Club’s board of directors (pictured below right) also recently completed a strategic planning process to identify strategies and tactics to help the Club continue to expand and offer a higher level of soccer in the community.
"One key point that came out of the master planning process for the complex and the strategic planning is the need for more involvement," says True. "We’ve accomplished a lot over the past seven years, but now we’re taking it to another level to provide a great soccer experience here in Carlisle. We’re going to need more involvement by people who have typically sat on the sidelines….literally and figuratively. When we ask our parents for help, we really need them to say ‘yes.’
And the more who say ‘yes,’ the less work for everybody involved."
The Key is fund raising
With this large of a project, a key need is fundraising. The Club has rejected door-to-door sales, seeking grants, business donations and fund raising events. Now, we have to identify sources of money for health, wellness and children’s causes.If you’d like to work at your own pace, like to do Internet research or have any experience writing grants, please contact LIsa Wilson, director of fundraising (989-0031).
As we accomplish our goals for each phase, we’re going to need others with special skills and equipment, to help us install parts of the irrigation system, prepare the soil for seeding and other grounds keeping activities. If you have a little time to give, and like to be outside, please contact Ryan Woodruff, director of facilities. (208-6328).
If you have a business that can donate money, equipment or services – or you work for an organization with a charitable giving process – we’d love to hear from you. Just contact Lisa.
If you have construction experience, irrigation installation experience, engineering skills or similar talents, or necessary construction equipment, contact Jason Timmins, project coordinator for our expansion and enhancement plan (971-6409).
The Carlisle Soccer Board members are (pictured below, left to right) Manny Garcia, Ryan Woodruff, Dawn Payne, Bridgett Davis, Ken Sadler, Chad Oppedal, Mark True, Steve Overton, Krista Beck, Lisa Wilson and Joe Fortelka (not pictured).