By: Diane Benjamin
I filed a FOIA request with the FAA pertaining to the soccer fields on January 31, 2018. I received it today by mail. It’s not that big, no word on why it had to be mailed.
So, why does soccer need to leave the airport property?
See this 1994 letter written by the former Director of Aviation – Prairie City Soccer League knew a long time ago the airport wasn’t a long-term location.
In August of 2013 a plan was presented by a group called CAAY (Citizens Advocating for Area Youth) costing a mere $32,000,000 for a Community Center and Soccer complex. The groups plans stated PSCL had to move because the FAA would not allow them to stay due to Homeland Security and other safety issues. See that document here: CAAY proposal
I received NO emails saying the fields were too dangerous. Instead, the FAA wanted development on the airport property to be aeronautical in nature and be leased for Fair Market Value. In addition, letting PCSL stay on the property might affect future grants.
The emails contain an almost comical exchange where now airport director Carl Olson tells the FAA that turning the soccer fields back into farmland is the best use. The FAA person claimed farming is the lowest use of the property. Keep in mind, the office Carl is communicating with is in Chicago. Carl has to explain to them that farming is what we do downstate.
The complex is so dangerous PCSL was given another 3 year extension when the lease expired in December of 2017. They will only get an additional 1 year extension if plans to relocate are well underway. I’m assuming they are paying much more to stay on the property now, but I didn’t receive anything saying how much.
Some of the more interesting emails I received:
PCSL has done nothing to raise the money for their own complex, the only plan is to have taxpayers build it. Since the $32,000,000 plan failed, a new plan for a multi-sport complex is being investigated by Normal – they hired a consultant to see if it is feasible. The answer will of course be yes.
The roads are pathetic, a bunch of angry citizens will descend on City Hall if anyone suggests building it.