Badger Creek Park — which sits on the original site of Jimmy Bobo’s recycling operation — is a county funded park, which took $5 million to complete and will serve as the county’s soccer complex.
With its 14 soccer fields of various sizes it will also be home for local soccer organization Cherokee Impact Soccer, said Alex Pama, Impact’s director of coaching.
Pama is a Cherokee County resident who has recently returned to the county from the Netherlands, where he worked with a professional soccer association. Prior to his time oversees, he founded Cherokee Redwings Soccer, now known as Impact, in 1999.
In the Redwings days, Pama said, they experienced great success with local youth, having 90 percent of their players go on to play in college. He hopes the new complex will bring these numbers back to the county.
In addition to Cherokee Impact Soccer, Badger Creek Park will also play host to local-area recreation and Georgia Soccer League matches, as well as large tournaments. Pama hopes these events will bring visitors to Cherokee County and, along with them, money for local businesses.
Pama told those in attendance that the economic impact he has seen on communities hosting soccer tournaments is monumental.
“People coming into town for tournaments need their gas and food, and they get it from local business,” he said.
The park’s proximity to the new outlet mall in Woodstock doesn’t hurt either, he said.
Pama and Pamela W. Carnes, president and CEO for the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, who also spoke at the ceremony, agreed that parents dropping their children off at the park will likely find the outlet shops down the road a worthwhile way to spend time as their children play at the park.
Cherokee County Board of Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens also spoke to those in attendance at the ribbon cutting.
“This is an example of what we can accomplish with the support of the voters and their SPLOST funds,” Ahrens said.
Ahrens also called the facility “truly state of the art.”