Soccer complex

This graphic shows the rough layout of the city’s proposed soccer tournament facility at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex.

The City of Murfreesboro is offering Richard Siegel Soccer Complex as the venue for a state soccer complex in place of the controversial location in the Blackman community.

Hundreds of residents of the Blackman community have expressed concern over a proposed soccer complex worth up to $35 million that would have gone where the city plans to build Blackman Park off I-840. But now the city has sent the Tennessee State Soccer Association a proposal to build the complex at RSSC on Memorial Boulevard at Cherry Lane.

The plan is to open the site by Jan. 1, 2020.

The city had initially wanted to build the complex on the I-840 site and place the Blackman Park on other city-owned land off Franklin Pike (Tennessee Highway 96). Hundreds of residents packed a public meeting on Sept. 4, and community leader John L. Batey called the park situation a “bait and switch.”

 “From the very start we said we were going to study different locations,” Mayor Shane McFarland said. “When we looked at different locations, the more we studied it, the more it became apparent Siegel is a unique opportunity to partner with a soccer organization using a facility they’re familiar with.”

The city will work to gain access to the proposed complex for local organizations, he said.

TSSA spokesman Clint Brewer said the organization’s board of directors expect to reach a decision in early December. Clarksville is the only other city under consideration.

The city proposes to enter into a 20-year contract with TSSA in which the city would build and manage a “marquee, statewide park and training facility.” TSSA would receive branding and sponsorship rights within the facility. The association would centralize all on-field soccer programming at Richard Siegel and work with a local soccer organization to provide field space for city youth soccer players. TSSA would handle management and upkeep of the facility.

TSSA projects its operations will create about 20,000 hotel room nights per year, the plan states. The site would be open to outside tournaments.

The facility will have 16 fields with six synthetic surface fields; a championship grass field with a 2,000-seat grandstand; indoor training facility with synthetic playing surface; parking; and office, classroom and concession space.

TSSA has used Richard Siegel Soccer Complex as its primary tournament venue for six years, the city’s proposal says. RSSC will be “enhanced for TSSA’s needs under terms of the deal.

City Council approval will be required before any agreement is finalized with TSSA, the proposal states.

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