Op-ed: Lexington mayor ‘can’t support’ plans for soccer complex

Op-ed: Lexington mayor ‘can’t support’ plans for soccer complex
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 5:06 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington’s mayor said she cannot support plans for a soccer complex on what’s currently agricultural land.

Anderson Properties owns land in question between Russell Cave and Newtown Pike. The Lexington Sporting Club plans to build youth soccer fields and a 6,000-seat stadium there.

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Brittany Roethemeier sees the positive side of a pro soccer team coming to the bluegrass.

“I grew up a soccer player. Played at Transy, as well I understand the value that a soccer program can bring,” said Roethemeier, who is with Fayette Alliance.

But she worries their arrival will uproot the very grass on which this region is built.

“It’s what draws people here, whether they’re visiting or laying down roots, and it keeps our economy booming,” Roethemeier said.

Roethemeier said the concerns of Fayette Alliance extends beyond this development as they try to protect both the land and the $2.3 billion industry that land produces.

“The policy decisions that get made today, they have ripple effects to the future. They have intended consequences. They have unintended consequences,” Roethemeier said.

Those concerns are also shared by business owners, citizens, and now the mayor of Lexington.

“She’s our elected leader. When she speaks, she’s speaking in the best interest of this community and so I think that carries a lot of weight,” Roethemeier said.

In an Op-Ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader, Mayor Linda Gorton said as the city grows, there needs to be a balanced approach. She said the club’s proposal does not reflect long-term thinking about the area.

Mayor Gorton urged the club to listen to the concerns and work to find a better solution.

“History shows us that the kind of balanced growth our community needs comes from long-range planning and long-term thinking. A recent proposal from the Lexington Sporting Club reflects neither,” Mayor Gorton said in the Op-Ed.

Ahead of a planning commission meeting that could push LSC’s project further along, the mayor and Fayette Alliance are asking the club to work with the community.

“I think having that open public conversation can lead the way to a better solution for all of us,” Roethemeier said.

The Lexington Sporting Club declined a request for comment, but said after the Board of Adjustment’s decision that they’re fully committed to being worthy neighbors to the community and stewards of the site.

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