The Winchester Rotary Soccer Park is on its way to being upgraded to make access to games easier for elderly residents and those with disabilities.
The Rotary Club of Winchester and Rotary District 6780 have teamed up with the city of Winchester to improve the facility, located in Winchester City Park.
A matching grant totaling $10,000 — $5,000 each from Winchester Rotary and District 6780 — will be used to build concrete sidewalks, replace railings and construct ramps and bridges which will provide better access for spectators with disabilities who visit the park.
The project will impact the many individuals who watch soccer games on any of the fields which support about 700 youth soccer players each game day during the soccer season.
Rotarians Mike Bowden and Dave Van Buskirk and Winchester Parks and Recreation Director Darrell Jolley will be overseeing the project.
Jolley said many elderly residents watch their grandchildren play soccer, and the upgraded facilities will make a tremendous difference in allowing them to attend games.
“This will make it a lot easier for them,” he said.
Jolley said the Soccer Park has been a five-year project, and the most recent grant is one of the last steps in making the facility complete.
He extended his thanks to the Rotary Club for the way it supports athletic activities and events in Winchester.
“Rotary has been great to us, especially with soccer and Little League baseball,” Jolley said. “Rotary always gives to the city of Winchester, and we greatly appreciate all that they do for us.”
Van Buskirk said the contributions Rotary makes to the quality of life in the area is a prime reason why residents should join the organization.
“Rotary does a lot of good, and that in itself is a good reason to join,” he said.
Construction is scheduled to begin this month with plans to have the work completed before the youth soccer season begins in September.
The complex offers four regulation-size playing surfaces designed specifically for soccer and includes a field house with concessions and restroom facilities.
The Franklin County Soccer Association offers recreational youth soccer for ages 3-18 and is endorsed by the Tennessee State Soccer Association.
The Rotary Club of Winchester holds several fundraising events throughout the year to fund important projects like the Soccer Park.
In addition, donations from members to the Rotary Foundation help fund grants that go to worthwhile causes.