The 600 children and teenagers in Sporting Lincoln FC will practice and play many of their games on the new soccer fields to be built in southwest Lincoln.
But that’s just part of the plan for Speedway Sporting Village, a 55.5-acre complex expected to include 10 outdoor fields and three buildings when the first phase of work is completed next spring.
The Nebraska Sports Performance Center, which helps young athletes with fitness, performance and speed training, will take 10,000 square feet in one of the buildings, said Andrew Ferguson, director of Sporting Lincoln FC.
Defy Gravity will operate an interactive fun park with trampolines and high-tech active games out of a 30,000-square-foot building.
The largest building, at 90,000 square feet, will be a fieldhouse with a 70-yard turf field. At full size, the space can be utilized for football and soccer clinics and training. But it can also be divided into three smaller training arenas, Ferguson said.
There will also be a 35,000-square-foot building that can be used for basketball and volleyball courts and as a banquet facility.
The Lincoln City Council will hold a public hearing on the tax-increment financing request for the proposed $29.8 million sports complex at Park Boulevard and Speedway Circle during the 3 p.m. meeting June 16.
The developers, Speedway Properties, will qualify for about $4.7 million in TIF in two phases of development, under the redevelopment agreement.
The first phase will include the soccer fields and three buildings. In the second phase, the developer plans to add 30,000 square feet of retail space.
The redevelopment is expected to raise the property's current $2.45 million assessed value by at least $17 million, based on the redevelopment agreement.
The TIF funds come from the property taxes the owner will pay on the additional assessed value over 15 years.
The complex will be built on land owned by the developer with easy access from Ninth and 10th streets, Nebraska 2, U.S. 77 and Interstate 80.
It’s also located near several bike trails — the Bison, Jamaica North and Salt Creek Levee trails.
“It’s as good a location as you could ever dream of,” Ferguson said.
Speedway Sporting Village will be home to Ferguson's soccer academy, Sporting Lincoln FC, but will also be used by other local soccer, volleyball and basketball organizations.
Ferguson said he developed his program based on how his daughter’s dance studio operated. Parents pay a fee depending on what level of participation they want for their children. Children first develop technically and then play on club teams, with coaches paid by the club, he said.
Players and teams with Sporting Lincoln FC currently practice and play on indoor fields at the Bison Sports Complex at 710 Hill St., and city-owned fields at Densmore Park.
But Ferguson needed more indoor and outdoor fields for his growing club.
Speedway Sporting Village will be a sports complex first, but it is also being designed with entertainment options in mind.
Ferguson expects the complex to be a place for wedding receptions, birthday parties, for post-prom parties, and for just hanging out with friends. He can see families biking there for an afternoon of fun.
Many of the activities at the complex will be operated by for-profit companies: a banquet service, the Sporting Lincoln FC soccer club, the trampoline center. But a nonprofit group will lease and operate the outdoor fields, Ferguson said.
Since there is not a lot of private benefit to the outdoor fields, the nonprofit group will be able to seek grants to help maintain those fields, he said.