He said there is an agreement in place between a private developer and the Sudbury Catholic District School Board that is expected to be finalized next week.
“It's agreed on in principle, and things are moving forward,” Belli said.
The facility, measuring approximately 200 feet by 300 feet, will be located at St. Charles College on one of the soccer fields, and the “bubble” will cover the majority of that field. Inside the bubble will be four mini soccer fields, measuring approximately 80 feet by 180 feet, change rooms, a clubhouse and a four-lane walking track, he said.
Belli and the developer anticipate that the majority of the field will be rented by soccer groups, but definitely by other sports groups, as well. In addition to soccer, there will be opportunities for a variety of sports including baseball, indoor golf, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, and it will be suitable for endurance training, he said.
Belli said he was approached by the developer because “he knew I was heavily involved in soccer.” The councillor is the former owner of Just Soccer. Following that initial meeting, Belli said the developer had planned on setting up on Maley Drive, “but things fell through.”
Then came the idea to partner up with school boards, and the developer settled on St. Charles as its preferred location. Belli and the developer set up meetings with the school board, and there was some excitement among the trustees and the school faculty, he said.
The developer has a facility right now in southern Ontario. He'll be moving to Sudbury to set up his new dome, Belli said. The developer's wife is originally from this community, and “he's really looking forward to it,” he said, and added there is nothing like this anywhere else around Sudbury.
A lot of work will go into preparing the site, including laying artificial turf. That work will hopefully start in May, Belli said, with an expected opening for Oct. 1.
The fact this project will cost nothing to the taxpayers is a boon, he said.
“We're having very difficult times with our budget, and we're talking about a facility that comes with a $2-million to $3-million price tag; the city would be hard-pressed to find that kind of money in its coffers for a project like this,” he said.
While the first bubble isn't even up yet, the developer is so excited, he's already talking about potentially putting up a second facility, Belli said.
“I want to take this one thing at a time. In two or three years' time, once the demand has outgrown the facility, then that's something we can look at.”
The timing is right, too, he said. The Sudbury Indoor Soccer Club will not be renewing its lease this year, and the sports dome “has to come into place before that time; otherwise, there will be no place for that group to play soccer, and they would have to start looking at gymnasiums.”
Posted by Mark Gentili