Whether you are there to play the game or to cheer the team on, enjoying sports at Willoughby Community Park will soon be a more comfortable and convenient experience.
A new south field house is being built at the park, located next to the Langley Events Centre in the 7700 block of 202A Avenue. The facility will provide washrooms, change rooms, a concession, community meeting room, and much-needed storage space and offices for local user groups.
"The new field house will provide access to a number of amenities that can be enjoyed by all park users and is sure to become a valuable community resource," Langley Township acting Mayor Grant Ward said. "It will certainly be put to good use."
On June 15, Ward and other members of Township council joined young players and executives from Langley United Youth Soccer Association (LUYSA), representatives from Marcon Construction, and others contributing to the project to turn the sod and officially mark the start of construction.
The facility is being built thanks to local sports groups which have partnered with the Township to help secure commitments for the $994,000 required for the project.
A five phase development plan has seen Willoughby Community Park enhanced with additions such as sports fields, a playground, a spray park, a mountain bike park, sand volleyball courts, and a tennis facility, but a south field house was not in the budget until LUYSA came forward with an idea to help fund the project.
In 2010, David Kasper of LUYSA, which has 1,600 members, approached Township Council about the Association's need for a field house in the park. A financial partnership was created, and other user groups were invited to get on board.
The Township will fund $459,750, LUYSA has committed $364,250, Langley Football Club is giving $75,000, the Township of Langley 2010 BC Summer Games Society is providing a legacy contribution of $70,000, and other user groups - and individuals - are also making generous contributions.
During the ground-breaking ceremony, LUYSA second vice-president Roger Gilbert announced that the McHale family, which has three children in the soccer program, is putting $30,000 towards the project and has challenged others to give as well towards LUYSA's overall commitment to the project.
"Community groups that use and enjoy the park have become significant funding partners," Township director of recreation, culture, and parks David Leavers said. "Thanks to their vision, generosity, and hard work, the entire community will benefit from this new field house."
LUYSA secured the services of Marco Paolella of Marcon Construction, which developed a plan for the two-level, 4,000 square-foot building and is undertaking its construction. The field house is expected to be completed this fall.