Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) members are two weeks away from revisiting a vote on a $17 million state-of-the-art field complex in Monticello.
The organization’s general membership will vote on the 24-field proposal during MYSA’s annual meeting Nov. 2 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
“Very little has changed in what we are proposing this year as opposed to last year,” said Candace Daley, executive director of the Minnetonka-based non-profit organization, when referring to last November’s unsuccessful vote that fell just short. “Based on feedback that we received after our general annual meeting, we made the decision that we were going to give the Monticello-based field proposal another go, and announced that to all of our MYSA member clubs in January.” Daley said some clubs needed a little more time and more information. “We certainly understood that because we are a membership organization,” she said.
MYSA hired the Risdell Marketing Group, an independently owned advertising agency based in New Brighton, to help with its communications effort, Daley said.
“The first part of this year, and shortly after that, we made the decision to hire an outside consultant to get the word out to the players and their families,” she said. “We had front page articles in our July and September issues of the Minnesota Soccer Times and contacted our member clubs’ presidents and boards.”
The centerpiece of the facility on 125 acres of land outside of Monticello would be a stadium field with artificial turf, lights and bleacher seating for 3,500, with the capacity to add another 3,500 seats, Daley wrote in a July Minnesota Soccer Times story. Located behind a 15,000-square-foot main building that will house the Minnesota Youth Soccer state office, meeting rooms, locker rooms and storage would be another field with artificial turf and lights. This field could be domed.
Jeff O’Neill, Monticello city administrator, said that proposed 125-acre MYSA field complex site, which has been dubbed “Minnesota’s Home Field,” is currently surrounded by the 1,200-acre Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park being developed by the city, Wright County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Last year at this time, we had worked out arrangements for the sale of the land to MYSA,” O’Neill said. “That situation hasn’t changed. We have gone forward with our wastewater treatment plant conversion, so the land is available. It’s really up to their organization to determine their vision and where they want to go with the project. We are eagerly waiting to hear what they have to say.” According to O’Neill, $20.5 million worth of investments in the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park has really helped leverage interest in the nearby property MYSA wants to use and future local economic development that could possibly occur.
“It would not be a city project, per se, but there would be planning and zoning issues that we would need to address,” O’Neill said. “Most of the associated costs would be paid for by the applicant when they come in, just like any other project. Wright County Planning and Zoning would be involved in a joint effort.”
Zoning Administrator Sean Riley said MYSA’s project would require a conditional use amendment to Wright County zoning ordinance. “They don’t have any pending application or process going with us,” he said. If the MYSA figures out its long-term plan, the organization will have approach the county, Riley said.
“The location is still Monticello,” Daley said. “We continue to feel very strongly that it’s the best location for our complex and what we are looking to do in our state as well as regionally and nationally. It’s important that we have a strong, local strategic partner. We feel we have that in Monticello. Our state is ranked 15th nationally in youth soccer participants. Having our own field headquarters positions us for growth. Hopefully, our membership will see it the same way.”
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