The City of Springdale recently bought out a sports complex to use as a recreational center.
Many who use the facility say they’re worried the change of ownership will mean an end to a tradition they’ve helped build for years.
“If that’s gone then we have to totally change our routines,” said soccer coach Jacob Rutledge.
Many sports enthusiasts are left wondering what will happen to what’s currently named “The Playground.”
The complex is the only one of its kind in Arkansas that boasts indoor soccer, baseball and basketball all under one roof.
“We’re trying to figure out how we can work with the city to continue indoor soccer here, or at another location,” said Kendall Spencer, director of soccer operations.
Spencer has been involved in the soccer program for over a decade and is now working to keep it around for the community.
“That’s really our biggest worry, is that it will die, the level of soccer in the community will die, and once that happens it is hard to rebuild,” Rutledge said.
“I just don’t think there is a complete plan with what they are doing with all the space,” Spencer said.
Springdale Parks and Recreations Director Bill Mock said the facility will be put to good use.
“We are going to put in a fitness center in here as well. All the details have not yet been finalized, but we want to also grow other opportunities for both youth and adults,” Mock said.
Mock said the sports complex is planning to keep the soccer fields while also adding two new basketball courts. The future recreation center will require a membership fee, getting rid of the former pay as you play process.
“Once that is established each person will have to have a membership, however, we want to continue the growth of both soccer and basketball,” Mock said.
While some say they have been left in the dark, they hope the change doesn’t leave them walking away from a place they’ve made their second home for years.
“We worry that if it does become a recreational center, that then we are going to be fighting for time, butting heads, saying ‘It’s my hour, it’s my hour,'” Rutledge said.
“They really should not worry other than there will just be a change of rules and regulations they will have to follow,” Mock said.
The city tells KFTA the private leagues currently playing seasons in the sports complex will be able to continue to use the facility until May.