Lexington leaders approve zone change for soccer stadium

Lexington city leaders to consider plans for proposed soccer stadium
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 3:54 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - There were hours of debate Tuesday night over a soccer stadium in Lexington

Despite concerns, the Lexington Urban County Council voted to approve a zone change in a 10 to two vote.

This means the Lexington Sporting Club has the green light to build its stadium on Athens Boonsboro Road near I-75.

People who live in the area fought against the approval, but the soccer club says it will be beneficial for the city.

Fourteen months ago, Lexington Sporting Club Head Coach Sam Stockley was tasked with forming the Lexington Sporting Club.

“To unite a youth soccer community that was a little bit fragmented, that has done very well, great history here, fantastic people, great coaches. But it was my job to bring a club together. Now Lexington Sporting Club has 1300 young players under 18 years old,” said Stockley.

Since then, they’ve built an academy with a professional men’s team. But what the club doesn’t have yet is its own stadium or training facility.

“Everything that’s been thought of in order to provide an unbelievable facility. And it will be an unbelievable facility, and it will be the best facility in Kentucky, if not the country, once it’s built,” said Stockley.

The Urban Planning Commission approved a zone change for property in the Athens Boonesboro Road area that would allow the Sporting Club to build not only the stadium and training facility but a medical facility, restaurants, shops and a bank. The proposal says the development would create 300 jobs and bring in 30 million in annual economic impact within Lexington.

But those who live nearby spent hours Tuesday night asking City Council not to approve the zone change that would allow the new development.

(Julie Muth Goodman/Ashley Woods Neighbor, Fayette Circuit Judge)

“You’re being asked to change a zone that will affect all of Athens Boonesboro Road. It will adversely affect our traffic, which is already so bad,” said Ashley Woods resident Julie Muth Goodman.

Like her Ashley Woods neighbors, Julie Muth Goodman opposes the stadium with worries about light, noise and air pollution. She says she also fears the zone would change, but the sporting club would then decide to build elsewhere.

”I ask you please to not grant this zone change, one that is not appropriate, doesn’t comply with the law or serve all the members of this community,” said Goodman

The Sporting Club owners say if they can get the zone change, they want to build in Fayette County.

The planning commission could still disapprove the final development plan for the stadium if it changes significantly from what was originally submitted.

Right now, the Lexington Sporting Club is playing its inaugural season at Georgetown College.