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FIRST ON WGIL: Plans Moving Forward for New Soccer/Sports Complex at Knox County YMCA
POSTED 11:36 a-m 9/3/9 Big plans are in the works at the Knox County YMCA in Galesburg.

The "Y' is currently clearing the way for a 177-space parking lot that's expected to be finished by the end of this month. YMCA Executive Director Linus VanderWyst says the organization's membership has grown by 30 percent, and at times parking has been an issue.

The YMCA purchased a little over 11.5 acres of land adjacent to the facility in October of 2007, and less than one-quarter of that property will be used for the new parking lot. VanderWyst says the "Y" is working with several partners - notably Carl Sandburg College, the Galesburg School District and the City of Galesburg - to develop a soccer/outdoor sports complex on the rest of the property. That would enable the lot to serve two purposes: provide parking for the YMCA's members and for people attending events at the sports complex.

VanderWyst tells WGIL the plan is to add multiple soccer fields that would be connected to facilities at nearby Galesburg High School.

"Along Carl Sandburg Drive, one of the three potential full-sized fields would be a 'premier' field, which would be an irrigated, lighted field. It could be the home for Carl Sandburg College men's and women's teams, District 205 - both their boys and girls soccer programs - as well as tournaments for the community with three fields. You're able to bring tournaments to the area, which is a great quality of life thing for the community to have."

The proposed complex would also have a concession stand and restroom facility, as well as pathways and sidewalks to connect the YMCA and the high school to the complex. VanderWyst says the cost of the project is around $1.5 million.

The Carl Sandburg College Board of Trustees last week approved a soccer program agreement with the YMCA. As part of it, the college will contribute up to $30,000 towards the YMCA's Capital Campaign to provide CSC with a home field to host games. VanderWyst says the District 205 School Board could take up an agreement with the YMCA at the board's September 14th meeting. The City of Galesburg is also being asked to support the project.

The four partners signed off on a letter of intent for the proposed project in May. VanderWyst says ideally the complex would open in the Spring of 2011.
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