SAN ANTONIO — Horrible. Embarrassing. Scary.
Those are the words used by Precinct One County Commissioner Chico Rodriguez to describe conditions at the Bexar County-funded Mission City Soccer Complex in the 2600 block of Red Hill Lane in south Bexar County.
Rodriguez made the remarks during a briefing at Commissioners Court by venue manager Tony Cañez, who provided an update on the 13 amateur athletic projects funded by a tax on tourist revenue approved in 2008. Cañez said the information was developed from unannounced spot inspections made at the independently managed facilities around the county.
Rodriguez said, "I was there the other day and it was horrible. I wouldn't let my kids play there, much less somebody else's kids play there. So I'm going to tell you, this is probably one of the most embarrassing sites that I've had a chance to see."
Rodriguez said he would like to get some expert advice on how to help the facility improve turf conditions.
Speaking of Mission City, Cañez acknowledged the non-profit group has had a tough year, with a lack of major donors and a failure of the irrigation system for the fields.
Mission City Administrator Jose Martinez defended the 40-acre facility, saying he believes they have done a good job managing meager resources and keeping the fields in as good a condition as they can.
"They're pleasant to play on. The kids don't care if there's a little bit of sand showing. When the kids come out here and play, they have a wonderful time and there's been no objections to the conditions of the field," Martinez said.
Martinez said because the facility is south of Loop 1604, many people who live in Bexar County believe the drive is too far to make the venue convenient, but he said they book many events with groups who travel from around the state.
"We have children that come from other parts of the state because they use this as a neutral site. San Antonio is very attractive. We're 20 minutes from the River Walk downtown," Martinez said, adding that on weekends the site is often filled to capacity with out-of-town guests. During the week, they have local charter school and league use.
Martinez said "We have been diligent in ensuring that everything is safe here."
Martinez said while they have had some volunteer help in maintaining the site, and donations of materials like fertilizer, he said more is needed.
"We would love to have plenty of volunteers to help the children," Martinez said, adding that he would appreciate support from energy companies in the area and restaurants that might be able to stage food festivals for the people who come for games.
Mission City Soccer Complex can be found on Facebook.