June 11, 2019 11:28 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As News10NBC first reported earlier this year, there are no plans for any major money making events at Rochester’s soccer stadium which still does not have a home team. So why are taxpayers now going to have to pay double what they have been spending to cover the costs of running the stadium and why could it cost even more in the future?
News10NBC’s Brennan Somers found out this is just the start of a very aggressive and expensive plan.
Ask anyone involved and they will tell you Rochester’s soccer stadium, that cost some $30 million to build, simply has not worked out as everyone had hoped. It sits in a neighborhood facing its own issues, others point to a lack of development, and then there is the struggling Rochester Rhinos soccer franchise that had to leave due to money woes.
Now Rochester city leaders have full control of the complex. They also have an ambitious plan for an "elite" training center for young athletes.
“[We] had a number of students go pro or be pro prospects for the NFL and some other sports here,” Mayor Lovely Warren said while talking about the stadium’s future during a budget meeting. “They need a facility like their suburban counterparts that they can practice in year-round."
Youth sports is a big business and Rochester wants in. City officials say they will be doing everything they can to use the stadium complex more to help players.
Clinics and camps are already on the schedule for 2019 along with games featuring local schools.
“There are some kids who are training for track in hallways of high schools so we really don't have a lot of facilities available outside of a few of the stadiums that have been built by the school district,” City Commissioner of Rec and Youth Services Daniele Lyman-Torres said.
Keeping the stadium up and running will not be cheap. What is now called the Rochester Community and Youth Sports Complex used to cost taxpayers about half a million dollars a year to maintain.
The price tag jumps to more than $900,000 under Warren’s new budget proposal for 2019-20. The city does not expect to make any money off of it.
“I did ask for quarterly updates from the commissioner so that we can have a sense of how popular this facility is going to be among the local sports teams who are out there and may want to use it,” Councilmember Molly Clifford said.
The stadium is in Clifford’s district. She questioned Warren over its future during a recent meeting which led to a surprising answer. Warren says they have a very lofty goal for the stadium — put a dome over it.
“We're hopeful that with a partnership with the city school district we will be able to build this facility,” Warren added. “Ideal state would be able to enclose the arena and make it a year-round destination for youth sports.”
A cover for the stadium would cost even more money and could be years away.
“I'm still a little taken back by that,” Clifford said. “We have some problems with that facility with the way it was constructed and I don't know that a dome is going to fix those.”
Warren says they will pursue opportunities for grants and partnerships with different groups or foundations to help pay for upgrades. For the time being, the focus remains solely on youth sports until when and even if another pro team comes calling.
Updated: June 11, 2019 11:28 PM
Created: June 11, 2019 05:18 PM
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