Optimist Club wants facility improvements

Published 6:07 pm Thursday, May 11, 2017

Washington’s Optimist Club, which operates a youth soccer program in the city, wants a larger soccer complex with improved restroom and concession facilities.

That’s the message Patty Peebles, president of the Optimist Club, delivered Monday to the City Council during its public hearing on the proposed city budget for fiscal year 2017-2018, which begins July 1. The proposed budget includes $90,000 for restroom improvements at the soccer facility at the Susiegray Moore McConnell Sports Complex near Washington-Warren Airport.

The Optimist Club is prepared to contribute $10,000 toward soccer-facility improvements, Peebles said.

“We just have some concerns, and I know there’s some items in this year’s budget, and they’ve been in past years’ budget and they kind of got cut out, and we didn’t get to see anything from that. … I share my concerns with the Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex in regard to next year’s budget, and especially on the soccer side,” Peebles said. “We really appreciate having this complex to be able to play and work with youth in our community, it does need some improvements for us to continue to serving our children. What we need is a larger concession stand and a larger bathroom facility.”

In recent years, city officials have talked about erecting lights at the soccer complex and building a new soccer complex with lights.

Peebles noted the soccer facility does not have lights. She reminded the council the restrooms at the soccer facility came from Eastern Elementary School and the concession stand came from a girls’ softball field.

Peebles said the existing restrooms and concession stand are not adequate to handle the volume of people — up to 2,000 at times — who attend tournaments at the soccer facility. The concession stand is too small, she said. “We put tables outside to be able to do some of our serving at the concession stand. Some days, that’s fine. But when the weather’s not good, windy or cold, it can be hard to serve outside the concession stand,” Peebles said.

The council took no action on Peebles’ request. The council could change the proposed budget before adopting it later this spring.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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