LCRA awards $50,000 grant to Bay City for new soccer fields
New lighted soccer fields at Hardeman Park will extend playing time to 10 p.m.
Oct. 26, 2022
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $580,000 in matching contributions from the city and private donations, will allow Bay City to build eight new soccer fields to better support its growing youth soccer program. The project also has added restrooms and renovated the existing teen center at the site.
“The Bay City Youth Soccer Club is the largest youth sports organization in Bay City with over 300 members,” said Shawn Blackburn, Bay City Parks and Recreation Department director. “They have kids not much bigger than the ball they’re chasing, all the way up to kids in high school and select teams.”
The city will add energy-efficient lighting on four of the fields. After the lights are in place, park hours will be extended to 10 p.m., which will provide time for more games and tournaments.
“The sport has become so popular that there were not enough fields available for practice, so teams were using baseball fields and other areas for play,” Blackburn said. “The lack of lighting also meant that fields were only available during daylight hours.”
LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said LCRA is proud to support Bay City in such a worthy project that will both serve residents and welcome out-of-town visitors.
“Providing well-run, safe park facilities to promote active lifestyles is important to the health and vitality of communities,” Wilson said. “These new fields will increase the ability for more people to participate, and more practices, games and tournaments are good for the local economy and the community as a whole.”
As part of the project, Bay City updated the park’s teen center with new paint, flooring, lighting, appliances and furniture so it can be used as both a place for positive connection with community youth and as a meeting location for civic organizations.
“Our teen center building was refurbished to allow the soccer club, Lion’s Club and the city a venue for meetings and concession opportunities,” Blackburn said.
The city also has built a new larger restroom to accommodate people visiting the park for soccer and the skate park adjacent to the fields.
The community grant is one of 46 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.