NEWBURYPORT — Close to half of the youngsters in this city play soccer, and it appears that those who manage the thriving program could be getting another field for games and practices.
The Community Preservation Committee recently voted to appropriate $134,000 to fund the Cherry Hill parcel B soccer field improvement project.
The CPC’s endorsement now goes to the City Council for approval. The council is meeting Monday and will address two CPC recommendations: $1.5 million for the World War Memorial Stadium Multi-Purpose Field Project, and the smaller figure for a soccer field at Cherry Hill, located on the west side of the city off Daniel Lucy Way.
The plan to demolish the north stands at the stadium at the high school in favor of a multi-purpose turf field has been a high-visibility initiative here, but the soccer field at Cherry Hill has not received as much attention.
But soccer backers are ready for construction to begin.
“We’ve been at this for about three years,” said Matt McDermott, president of Newburyport Youth Soccer Association. “We’re glad to see it moving forward because we have so many youngsters and a shortage of fields.
“A census shows that there are about 1,974 kids (aged 3 to 13) in the city, and about 950 play soccer. We have about half the kids, and a new field will help.”
City Councilor Charles Tontar, who chairs the Budget and Finance Committee, has brought the recommendation to the council.
The area upon which a new field is proposed is now being used as both a parking lot and a practice field, but “its surface is uneven and marred with tire tracks ... a player could easily be injured,” according to a summation produced by the CPC.
The project summary says, “A redesign will address parking issues and transform the open space into another high quality soccer field to accommodate future growth of the Newburyport Youth Soccer Association.