DeKalb County is exploring the possibility of building soccer facilities in a north DeKalb park – most likely Blackburn, Linwood or Avondale parks.
Bob Lundsten, chief of staff for Commissioner Elaine Boyer, said the county has met with Concorde Fire Soccer Club to discuss the feasibility of a partnership to operate additional soccer fields.
“That’s the top premise: Is it a possibility?” Lundsten said. “Is there a real possibility of doing a public- private partnership to address the need of soccer fields in the north DeKalb area?”
In August, Concorde Fire withdrew its application for a special land use permit to build a soccer complex on South Johnson Ferry Road following a battle with area residents who were vehemently opposed to having the facility so close to their neighborhoods.
With the non-profit soccer club still in need of new fields, DeKalb County is looking into providing existing park land for soccer fields that would be maintained by Concorde.
Larry Lord, president of Concorde Fire, said his organization is interested in working with DeKalb County.
“That would be great. But we haven’t gotten that far yet in those discussions,” Lord said.
Concorde Fire is still looking to purchase property independently that would accommodate a soccer complex.
“We’re looking all around that whole Ashford-Dunwoody area,” Lord said. “We just need more space to play. We hope to find something that’s not in a neighborhood, but in DeKalb that’s kind of hard to find.”
Lundsten said there are a number of things that would need to be addressed before the county could agree to a partnership with Concorde Fire.
“We have to determine regardless of where we would put these soccer fields, first and foremost …not to displace any current north DeKalb soccer programs,” Lundsten said. ‘We don’t want to kick anybody out. We don’t want to provide a home for Concorde at the expense of making other programs orphans.”
Lundsten said the county would also ensure that additional soccer fields would not overburden the parks.
“A perfect example of that is Murphey Candler,” Lundsten said. “Murphey Candler is hammered this time of year …Those fields never get a rest.”
Traffic is also a major concern. Traffic studies would also be conducted to make sure that additional fields wouldn’t create more congestion.
“Until everybody’s comfortable we meet those criteria, only then will they start to proceed with specific actions,” Lundsten said.