Soccer park expansion may take on new look

Published 8:48 am Thursday, July 27, 2017

BERMUDA RUN – After Twin City Soccer announced plans to increase capacity for BB&T Sports Park earlier this year, about the only noise being generated since that time came from residents in bordering Kinderton Village protesting the expansion.

In this month’s Bermuda Run Town Council meeting, councilman Rick Cross said he hadn’t heard a whole lot lately about the situation and asked about getting an update.

Town Manager Lee Rollins has been out on medical leave and said he hadn’t spoken with Scott Wollaston, executive director of the youth soccer association, since his recent return.

“I think the soccer complex still has every intent to go through with their expansion,” Rollins said. “I think they’re looking, perhaps, at recalibrating and try to figure out what that looks like. I haven’t received any information that they’re wanting to curtail anything.”

Councilman Jerry West said that he had spoken with Wollaston and recalibrating was probably the best word to describe where things stood now with a project that had an estimated price of $7 million over the first two phases – which would include purchasing additional land, three new artificial turf fields, a grass field and stadium field improvements.

Mayor Ken Rethmeier ultimately provided more details.

“While Lee was out, Scott did call me and said that the board has asked them to sort of step back, and not walk away, and maybe reconfigure and realign how they set up some of the current fields,” Rethmeier said, “and they’re going to continue to look at spending money on updating and enhancing the existing building and enhancing the one stadium.”

Part of the original plan also included the Bermuda Run Town Council, which approved a resolution of intent to purchase property for parks and recreation needs.

Although it wasn’t an actual purchase agreement, the resolution detailed Twin City Soccer entering into a letter of intent with the Hillsdale Group to purchase 28 acres adjacent to its complex and north of the Bahnson lakes and then asking the town to purchase 14 acres for passive recreation, walking trails and parking.

The specified purchase price is $32,142 per acre for a total of $449,980 for 14 acres each for the town and the soccer complex.

As for the land portion of the scenario, Rethmeier said that Twin City Soccer was “not walking away from it” and that he thought “they would eventually proceed.”

Cross and councilman Mike Ernst said they would like for council to be included on any updates or changes to the project by Twin City Soccer to help keep the citizens informed.

Residents from Kinderton Village packed town hall in the April meeting to oppose building more soccer fields, trails, a parking lot, access road and anything else that might impact their way of life.

Also at last Tuesday night’s meeting, the council voted to move its regular monthly agenda meeting from Tuesday, July 25, to Thursday, July 27, to accommodate the schedule of Davie County Sheriff J.D. Hartman.

Rethmeier wanted to invite Hartman after a number of recent discussions on traffic and concerns over safety.

“It will be good to have him come and get his perspective on the issues we have as a town,” Rethmeier said.

Rollins said that he would meet with Hartman in advance of the agenda meeting to provide the council with information as they look at options regarding law enforcement.

The council also reappointed Tal Brown as the town representative for the ABC Board. He filled the term of George Clark that expired June 30, 2017.

In other agenda items, the council:

• Reappointed Ken Peacock to a second 3-year term as a regular Planning Board/Board of Adjustment member and Lynne Senger to a second 3-year term as an alternate.

• Approved an agreement to pay the NCDOT $1,000 to recalibrate the signal plan for the traffic light at the US 158/NC 801 intersection after approving a resolution last month to reduce the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph.

• Approved a budget amendment to close out the US 158 roundabout capital project.

• Approved a budget amendment in the utilities fund to close out of the water purchase agreement revenues and expenditures for 2016-17.

“We are officially out of the water business,” said Rollins, who said that the county has now taken over all of the town’s water customers and water lines.

He added that the town still hasn’t officially closed out 2016-17 yet but is working on it.

“We’re still looking to put some funds back into fund balance as our expenditures do not exceed revenues,” Rollins said. “With the utilities fund, I’m happy to say that we’re putting around $400,000 into our fund balance to help pay for preparation to the pump station and the line that will go to the county’s pump station.”

In another item, Rollins said that the town should be getting close to installation of lighting at the roundabout in preparation for fall and winter.

All council members warmly welcomed back Rollins, who missed the two June meetings after having surgery, and added what a good job his staff did during his absence.