Soccer group, commission at odds over park
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
November 25, 2012 12:39 AM | 3478 views | 7 7 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cherokee Recreation & Parks Agency and Cherokee Impact Soccer can’t seem to agree when it comes to a gate closing off Badger Creek Park.

Chris Hampton, chairman of the CRPA advisory board, told county commissioners on Tuesday that the soccer organization, which manages the park, has been violating a contract with the county by not opening the entrance gate during daytime hours.

The county’s contract with Cherokee Impact states that the park, located off Blalock Road, should be open to the public when teams are not using the fields, Hampton said.

The recreation advisory board voted this fall 5-0 in favor of keeping the gate open during the complex’s hours of operation (8 a.m. to 11 p.m.) as stated in the contract, according to Hampton.

“It was built with public funds, and it needs to be open,” he said.

Hampton said the gate is a continuing issue with Cherokee Impact.

“It seems to be that with this association we have the same problem every time. They’re the only association we have trouble with as far as direction,” he said.

Since the county owns the park, Cherokee Impact needs to follow the contract, County Commissioner Karen Bosch said.

“If they want to cut us a check for that park, they can have their lock,” she said.

For a long-term solution, Hampton suggested looking into an automatic gate that can be programmed to open and shut at set hours.

“In the meantime, someone needs to be opening that gate, and it needs to be us,” Bosch said.

John Brandreth, president of Cherokee Impact Soccer, said the organization isn’t trying to force people to stay out of Badger Creek Park.

“There are parking spaces at the entrance. Anyone who wants to can park their car and walk into the park,” he said, noting that people can walk around the gate.

He said Cherokee Impact relies heavily on volunteers and doesn’t have someone to unlock the gate every day.

“It’s something that’s pretty difficult to arrange,” he said.

Brandreth said vandalism is a concern for Cherokee Impact, as the restrooms and concession stands have been vandalized in the past. He noted that the soccer complex is “a little bit off the beaten path” and doesn’t have lights in the parking area.

Brandreth also expressed concerns about liability if a person not involved in the soccer league were to be injured at the park.

County Commissioner Harry Johnston said concerns of vandalism may prove to be valid, but the park should be open to the public during daytime hours as stated in the contract.

“I don’t think the risk warrants closing the park to the public most of the time, as has been the case so far. I think we have to open the park and see how it goes,” Johnston said.

The soccer fields are closed to teams and the public for the next 60 to 72 days for winter maintenance.
Comments
(7)
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soccerdad70
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December 01, 2012
I think a full scale investigation into impact needs to be done. It is an awful program and I will not have my kids involved unless the current leadership is gone. Has anyone on the board ever been elected? Have all of the board members had background checks done? If so they should be audited. If not, why?? I understand that they are not planning to pay the money needed for upkeep as in their contract, or for the sodding that was initially done, but I'm not sure if that is true. I've heard rumors they have operated as a for profit group with the state for years. Please investigate them and report what is found.
soccerman
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November 27, 2012
john,

How about you run out there and lock and unlock the gate as needed. You're paid by the club. At least do something other than collecting a pay check. Good gracious.
soccer fan
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November 27, 2012
They may want to rethink the liability statement they made in the article. There is as much or more liability in not being able to access a public park with an emergence vehicle should someone using the facility during posted hours of operation get hurt. I wouldn’t want to try to argue that case… especial since the league admitted to not keeping the access open against their contract in a public paper..
runnermom
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November 27, 2012
A MUCH bigger problem is the soccer parents speeding on Toonigh and Blalock and ignoring stop signs. A tragedy involving a carload of kids is going to happen if something isn't done. Cherokee Impact should make an impact on this very serious problem...contact and warn these folks...save a life!
Public Park
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November 25, 2012
Impact has paid staff. Have a staff member open the gate. Is it that hard?
dude3445
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November 26, 2012
Sounds like they just want it all on tax payers dime. Sorry, you have to let EVERYONE us it. I would just cut the lock every time.
bad soccer program
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November 27, 2012
Soccer.....in every other country it's the cheapest sport to play. In the US, these "soccer gurus" make it the most expensive sport. Impact might be the worst run program I have ever seen. The new coach of the 99 age group doesn't want his players playing middle school soccer. He thinks it's to "recreational." Last year, Freedom girls middle school team was phenomenal. The team was made up of a few Impact players, but the best players came from NASA and Top Hat. Parents DO NOT let your girls play for these idiots!
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