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Indoor soccer arena proposed for park

"The first indoor soccer arena on the Kitsap Peninsula could be built at South Kitsap Community Park under a proposal that will be the topic of a specially scheduled public meeting tomorrow of the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District Commissioners.During the meeting at 6 p.m. at the district's headquarters at 712 Sidney Ave., representatives from Olympic Soccer and Sports Center will discuss possibly opening the 28,125 square-feet soccer building on park property as early as October.District officials said tentative plans call for the district to provide the land and utility hookups. All other costs would be carried by Olympic Soccer, which could then make some form of lease payments for its site to the district.A similar arrangement already exists at the park with Casey's Last Chance, a private interest that operates batting cages.Last year, private investors connected with Casey's failed to win approval from Kitsap County authorities to build and operate an amusement center at the park.The public-private soccer project has been in development for the past 18 months by Dennis Michael, a Port Orchard resident, and Larry Smith, who lives in the Hood Canal area. Michael said they originally were negotiating with Kitsap County officials in conjunction with an ice skating rink proposed by separate interests. That project has been put on hold by the county because of funding issues.Michael said Olympic Soccer, which he and Smith head, hopes it has a willing partner in the park district, which is not affiliated with the county and receives no taxpayer support. He said details on how the district would be compensated for the use of park land haven't been finalized. But the soccer facility itself would be supported by fees paid by youth and adult teams to play there, as well as for player and coaching clinics.The building would measure 225 feet by 125 feet. Michael wouldn't disclose the construction cost, other than it would be in six figures.The indoor, artificial playing surface would be state of the art, Michael said.Besides soccer, the facility could also host non-sports events, such as youth dances, he said. Olympic Soccer has no facilities of its own as yet, but wants to open two indooor soccer centers--one in the South Kitsap area and the other in the Central or North Kitsap areas.The nearest existing indoor soccer arena, in Gig Harbor, turns participants away, according to Michael. There's a big demand for one in our area, he said."

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