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Jasper County Tribune

City of Colfax continues efforts to keep youth soccer in town

COLFAX – The City of Colfax made some progress in their efforts in keeping youth soccer in town during a special meeting June 27.

During the council’s regularly scheduled June meeting, representatives with the Colfax-Mingo Youth Soccer Club made a case to city council about their concerns after the family of Mieko Williams decided to sell the soccer fields located at 620 W. State St. after her death.

Previously, Williams leased the property to the city at an annual cost of $962 for nearly 20 years.

“The family is ready to sell,” Colfax Mayor David Mast said. “We have been just paying taxes on the property. The estate has a house and the fields. At one point, they were going to put it all together and do something. Then, they were holding the soccer fields separate for us for a while and gave us a number. My original response was that is pretty high.”

At the regular meeting June 11, the council shared that a private citizen proposed purchasing the property where the soccer fields are located for the city in exchange for other properties currently placed in the city’s name.

If this agreement is reached, the soccer fields would be owned by the City of Colfax.

“That is being closer and closer to being worked out,” Mast said.

At the special meeting, the city presented a market analysis on the soccer field and the property discussed that may be traded for the fields.

The soccer field lot, which includes a residence on the property, has an estimated market value of $34,000. The lot covers about three acres of land.

The property in the proposed deal owned by the city has an estimated cost of $29,900. The property covers nearly 2.04 acres of land.

“I am more frustrated with the family that they did not ask for a more realistic price,” Councilman Brad Magg said. “I think $45,000 is trying to gouge us.”

During the June 16 meeting, the youth soccer club’s representatives were asked to raise $10,000 to help offset the cost of the properties. The potential remaining funds would be used to improve the current fields.

“We need to do everything we can to keep the soccer field where it is at,” Councilman Curtis Small said.

Initially, Mast said the city looked into other options to keep soccer in Colfax. After discussion, the city council members decided to continue to pursue this option.

“Looking at it, the soccer club doesn’t want to move. They want to keep it there. The other options we had were not ideal for them,” Magg said. “The land we have, it wouldn’t quite fit. The high school would only be a temporary thing without great storage ... they are all volunteer driven. They don’t have the time to go to three different locations.”

At the meeting, the city council members also discussed an option to add a larger soccer field in Colfax.

The youth soccer club currently plays at a field in Prairie City in order to accommodate the older age groups, which require a larger field size. The council also spoke on potentially turning two lots on Kelly Street into the field.

“Where it is at is a great place, if we can make it happen,” Mast said.

Other Business

The city council also approved some work on the city hall building during the special meeting.

The city approved $17,950 in asbestos removal from the building on 20 W. Howard St., roof penetration work and a $700 environmental testing required by state regulators.

According to officials, the city was recently awarded a $7,000 grant for the removal.

“If we work a little bit longer, I think we can get $7,000 more along with half the difference of what we are coming up with,” City Clerk Nancy Earles said.

The city also discussed potential options on nuisance abatements.

Councilman Bryan Poulter was not in attendance at the special meeting.

Contact Anthony Victor Reyes at areyes@jaspercountytribune.com.

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