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Work progressing on SLC sports complex

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen and other officials held a press conference Thursday, announcing the re-start of construction on the Regional Athletic Complex, a sports center featuring 16 first-class soccer fields.

Hansen, who acquired full ownership of Real Salt Lake earlier this year, says he’s excited about the impact the project will have on the local soccer community.

“Well this was a long time coming,” said Hansen. “The vision 10 years ago to buy this land was put forward by Salt Lake. They passed bond that would have built it 10 years ago, but as inflation has accrued and the cost of this getting done has moved up, RSL’s commitment in ‘05 has become more and more crucial.

“We feel really proud that we were able to meet that obligation. It takes sacrifice to do it all, but we’ve done it and we sure appreciate being a part of this. And knowing that 50,000 kids along the Wasatch front that play soccer are going to have the most remarkable facility in the Western United States here in Salt Lake, that is something to be proud of and we’re excited to be part of it.”

Hansen, on behalf of RSL, handed over a $7.5 million check to help complete construction on the athletic complex.

Mixed into the crowd at the announcement, were several youth soccer players from the Salt lake area including Julio Chacon and Carlos Mendoza. Julio and Carlos, who have been playing soccer for most of their lives, described the fields they currently play on and how the new fields will help.

“Not really good fields,” said Chacon,” Like where the grass is too long or not a lot of grass at all. All the other fields the grass is too long and there’s bumps and holes in the field. It will help us dribble the ball a little better instead of just dribbling the ball through holes and stuff like that. It will help us improve on our soccer skills.”

Construction on the complex will start within the next 30 days and the fields will be ready by 2015. In the future, as funds become available, four additional soccer fields will be added to the already planned 16, as well as six baseball fields.