55-acre sports field complex proposed for Washington City

WASHINTION CITY — Washington City could be the site of a large sports field complex if a proposal that has been in the works since 2018 comes to fruition.

Snow Canyon at Pine View, St. George, Utah, Sept. 24, 2020 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

A 55-acre facility comprising 16 sports fields and a 130,000-square-foot facility housing an indoor soccer field and related amenities is being planned for the Stucki Farms area, though it still has some hurdles to get past as far as city approval is concerned.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is putting in place a world class sports facility in Washington City that will serve the needs of a very growing demand for athletic fields, complexes and things like that,” Dave Hubbard of Really Epic Ventures told the Washington City Council during a workshop meeting Wednesday.

Really Epic Ventures is partnered with Salt Lake City-based Red Slopes Soccer, with the latter slated to operate the sports complex once built.

The two groups organize youth soccer tournaments in Washington County each year. Last year they held a tournament that included a total of 147 teams. While the tournament made use of the Sullivan Soccer Park, which Hubbard said was the best option in the area, the park only consists of four soccer fields, which limited what they could do.

“We couldn’t find adequate facilities to have the quality of games that we wanted,” Hubbard said.

A slide detailing the proposed soccer fields complex to be built in the Stucki Farms area of Washington City. Shown during a meeting of the Washington City Council, Washington City, Utah, Dec. 9, 2020 | Image courtesy of Washington City, St. George News | Click to enlarge

According to Hubbard’s presentation, the Little Valley sports complex is another option, but it isn’t of the same quality as the Sullivan Soccer Park. Other potential spots they could use include local high school fields and those used by Dixie State University. However, these options are either limited in number or, in the case of Dixie State, are very expensive to use.

Because of these factors, the idea for a large-scale facility was originally proposed to Washington City in 2018. While progress has been made on the proposal, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some delays along the way.

If the Washington City Council ultimately clears the way for the building of the 55-acre sports complex, Hubbard said it would allow them to hold tournaments of up to 300-500 teams. He cited the Presidents Cup, a youth soccer tournament held by Utah Youth Soccer Association in Mesquite, Nevada, as an example, adding that the creation of the sports facility in Washington City would allow it to be held in Utah.

Beyond just soccer,  tournaments for lacrosse, field hockey, volleyball and other sports could also be held at the massive complex, Hubbard said. Additional proposed uses for the complex include hosting NCAA tournaments, Amateur Athletic Union qualifiers, B- and C-level coaching license classes and a Real Salt Lake training camp.

An artist rendering of the front of the 130,000-square-foot facility at the proposed soccer fields complex to be built in the Stucki Farms area of Washington City. Shown during a meeting of the Washington City Council, Washington City, Utah, Dec. 9, 2020 | Image courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

The general layout of the proposed facility includes eight championship fields and eight sports fields that can be used for multiple sports. Inside the 130,000-square-foot facility will be an indoor soccer field, basketball courts, a café, concessions stands and administrative offices.

The building will also house classrooms that can be used by the community, as well as areas with internet access where families can wait while a child is training with their team.

As for what benefit there may be to the city for approving the project, Hubbard said 10% of the time booked at the complex will be augmented to accommodate city-sponsored sports programs at no cost.

The facility, which planners believe will be able to attract over 500,000 people annually, is estimated to have an annual economic impact of $18 million and generate $350,000 in tax revenue for the city.

“We believe the benefit to the city itself is going to be very positive, not just for the economic standpoint, but by putting Washington City on the map as the location in the Southwest or Western United States,” Hubbard said.

For the time being, the City Council has yet to vote on an impact fee proposal related to the sports complex, as well as a requested zone change for the area where it is slated to be built. Matt Loo, the city’s economic development director, said that will likely come before the City Council in late January.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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