Published in the Times July 23, 2017
THUMBS UP TO… a kick in the right direction. The Ottawa City Council last week agreed to allow the former Central School site to be used as temporary soccer fields, and there couldn’t be a better short-term solution to two long-term problems. In June, when Ottawa Soccer Club President David VanWiggeren asked the city to allow up to nine fields at the site, he explained the newly formed nonprofit youth sports group was struggling to find space without disturbing long-established baseball and softball leagues.
The Central site has been in flux for nearly a decade since flooding ruined the old school and put future construction in doubt. The city has made significant progress in planning to utilize the waterfront space, but it must first remediate underground environmental concerns. But the surface itself is plenty safe for recreation, and now the more than 220 kids signed up to play soccer have a perfect spot for the inaugural season that starts in mid-August. This won’t be a long-term arrangement, but for right now it makes a ton of sense.