FARMINGTON -- Area kids will get a kick out of the latest joint venture between the city and school district.
City officials recently staged a ribbon-cutting to unveil the newest recreational area in the city, an 11-acre parcel of district property near Glovers Lane on the city's west side. The parcel has been planted into grass, which is turn is being used for 17 new soccer fields.
The property is the future home of Farmington High School and city officials negotiated an interlocal agreement last year, which allowed the city to clear the area and plant grass for the new soccer fields.
Total cost for the new fields was less than $30,000, said Neil Miller, parks and recreation director, with much of that cost going to a sprinkler system for the area. City workers planted grass in August and had hoped to be able to use the fields by the fall of this year, but the grass came in better than expected.
The official opening came just minutes before the city's Flash soccer league kicked off the spring season. Founded in 2008, the league has grown from 450 kids to more than 950 youths from ages 3 to 12.
"This is what happens when people come together for the right reason," City Manager Dave Millheim said of the new fields.
Miller anticipates the new grass area will service more than soccer in the future. He said the fields will be available for other uses.
In turning the property into a playing area, city officials have been able to centralize the soccer program as well as reduce the strain on other practice fields throughout the city.
Ironically, Miller jokingly alluded to a potential problem in 2017, if the high school plans stay on course, with having enough space to stage city recreation programs.
City officials have taken discussion of the recreation program beyond just the playing fields.
Last year, Millheim initiated discussion about the future recreation needs of the city and floated the possibility of looking at a recreational center complex in the future.
Finance Director Keith Johnson estimates it would cost between $11 million and $16 million to build a recreational center and a regional park.
He raised the possibility of bringing a recreational arts and parks tax (RAP) before voters, similar to what is in place in Bountiful and Centerville to fund a regional theater.
The RAP could generate a small percentage of new sales tax from non food items dedicated to recreational projects over a specified amount of time.
Millheim suggested there are seven or eight key steps the city will need to take in addressing long-term recreational needs in the community.