WHO IS WILLAMETTE UNITED?
Unlike other groups that have tried to build sports fields in our community, the Willamette United Football Club is run by people who live here. Our Executive Director has lived in Wilsonville for 20 years and has had three children go to school in our community. Our Director of Coaching has lived in West Linn for ten years and has two children in West Linn schools. Our entire Board of Directors lives in either West Linn or Wilsonville and all of their children go to school here.
We serve over 2500 children and over 90 percent of them go to school in the West Linn and Wilsonville School District. Those that do not go to school here live in Oregon City, Canby, Tualatin and Lake Oswego. We live, work and play in our community just like of the members of the Stafford Hamlet. We are VERY serious about helping nurture valuable members of society and to help children be the best they can be on and off the field.
IS THE PROPOSED PARK A PRIVATE PARK?
While the park is NOT operated by a city, the county or the state, it will still be operated as a public park and it will be open to everyone and anyone in our community. The park will have features that may be rented by anyone and there will be FREE amenities available to everyone in the community. The three outdoor fields and indoor training facility will be available to any local group that wants to rent them for practices or games. Fees are set at the lowest rate possible while still servicing the construction debt. The walking trail, playground and picnic area will be available any time the park is open to the public for free.
IS THE PROPOSED PARK A FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS?
NO. The park is not a for-profit venture. This project is completely manged by the Willamette United Football Club which is a (501) (c) (3) non profit organization. The construction loan and all business for the park will be run by a new LLC called Willamette United Facilities which is fully owned by WUFC and is also a non profit entity. All money made from the park will be used to operate the facility and any profit will be managed by WUFC and reinvested in our children and community. As the debt is retired the usage fees will be lowered to help the local non-profit organizations.
IS THE PROPOSED PARK REALLY NEEDED?
There is a desperate need for new turf fields with lights in our community. There are only FOUR artificial turf facilities in the community. These are all operated by the school district and while the district is a wonderful partner, the school fields are used for school sports first. What time is left is minimal and shared by multiple groups. There is one private turf field at Horizon Church but that field is often booked. Grass fields are only available six months out of the year due to rain and darkness and the Athey Creek field lease expires in 2020. We have over 2500 young soccer players and with the growth of lacrosse and football starting at earlier ages there are more young athletes in our community than ever. Add the new homes and apartments being built in Wilsonville to the equation and there is more demand than supply available in our community. Our organizations do NOT get to use fields in Lake Oswego as those fields are full with Lake Oswego organizations.
WHAT IS THE CLUB DOING ABOUT THE “BIG THREE” CONCERNS?
WUFC has spent almost $75,000 with one of the best traffic consultants on the west coast. We want the traffic situation to have as little impact as possible to the community. The soccer club’s lease at Athey Creek Middle School is finished in 2020 so the traffic generated by most WUFC families will NOT be new traffic. It will be existing traffic that is moving East down Borland Road. We have been assured that Borland Road, a main arterial, can handle the park traffic well.
The outdoor fields will have lights. The new LED bulbs make light spillage virtually non existent. The light stops where the field stops. In addition, the property at SouthLake is surrounded by very tall mature trees that will shield light outside of the park. The lights are NOT used during late spring and summer months and there will be minimal use on weekends. We want this facility to be a source of pride to the community so the current plan is to close the fields at 9PM and to have all outdoor field lights turned off by 9:30PM every night once children are safely off the fields. We serve children and we believe they shouldn’t be out past 9PM.
In the early plans for the park there was an outdoor amphitheater. Due to potential noise concerns that feature was removed from the plans. The park will NOT host any concerts or other events that produce loud noises. Our club does not use whistles for practices so the only whistles that may hear will be during games for the safety of the children. With the fields being so close to the freeway park noise will be minimal and in most cases will not be heard over the I-205 traffic. We have done extensive noise studies that confirm this fact.
BECAUSE THE PARK IS BUILT ON CHURCH LAND WILL THE PARK OR THE SOCCER CLUB BE A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION?
NO. WUFC is not and will not be a religious organization. The relationship between SouthLake Church and WUFC will not change who we are or how Willamette United operates in any way. Willamette United is and will remain a secular organization. SouthLake Church knows this and they have embraced us as their partner and future neighbor. Everything we do as a club is driven by our mission statement.
The Willamette United Football Club works hard to inspire and educate our members to be strong and productive athletes, citizens, and leaders. We strive to help the whole child grow physically, emotionally, mentally and academically.
Our partner and future landlord, South Lake Church, has proven their commitment to the community in many ways, including opening up their land and buildings facilities to help Willamette United fulfill our mission.
We want both organizations to encourage 100% authenticity while being respectful of the safety, culture and needs of both organizations when they become neighbors.
WILL THE PARK IMPACT THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT?
We are designing the facility to use natural materials that will help the park blend into the local environment. We are following all of the county’s guidelines carefully to help protect the environment. The park has been designed to stay as far away as possible from the river and we will keep as many of the trees as possible. We have and will continue to go to great lengths to protect the environment and in many cases we will work to enhance the area.
There is misinformation being spread about the chemicals and turf fields. THERE ARE NO CHEMICALS of any kind used to clean turf fields. The fields are cleaned with a sweeper. We take the safety of our children very seriously and we will not use any chemicals on the fields or around the park.
We have a plan to improve the habitat by planting food source plant life and creating breeding and nesting materials for local birds and small wild life. We are hoping to engage the Boy Scouts, the FFA and or 4-H groups to help us execute this idea by planting strategic plant life and building nesting boxes for local birds. We want the park to be home to beautiful plant and animal species.
We are working with local grade school teachers to create cross-curricular thematic lesson plans that we will post on the park’s web site. These lesson plans will be about the local wildlife, the river, plant life and the community’s history. The lesson plans will be available for download for free and teachers will be able to visit the park during the school day with their students to learn about the area and how to take care of our community. We see this project as a way to grow community pride and to help nurture responsible members of society.
HOW WILL THE SOUTHLAKE PARK CONSTRUCTION BE PAID FOR?
Willamette United is going to use a combination of existing revenue, new revenue, donations, sponsor dollars and private financing to get the park built. These funding sources will also include grants and a SNAP loan which is a lending vehicle specifically created to help non-profit organizations. Because we have over 2500 children that play for our club we can move them into the park on day one and have substantial revenue to put toward debt service.
There will be NO PUBLIC MONEY USED FOR THE FINANCING OF THIS PARK. WUFC has taken on the burden of building this park so local tax payers do not have to.
Will adults use the park and will there be alcohol served at the park?
SouthLake Park will only serve children and for special events families. We will NOT be hosting late night adult leagues or games. The park will have a concession stand but it will NOT SERVE ALCOHOL and there will be no restaurant or cafe. There is no hooded grill or fryer on premises. There are no waitresses or seating specifically for meal service. Nobody will be coming to the park specifically for meals. We will be providing healthy snacks and drinks for children and coffee for parents.
What about large crowds and the permanent seating?
There is no permanent seating at the park. Parents bring their own folding chairs. During games there will be between 75 and 125 people on a field, including players and coaches. There will not be any large crowds attending youth sports activities.