Soccer facility plan is nixed after association vote

Organization members have voted down the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA)’s plans to build a new headquarters and field complex in Monticello.
City Administrator Jeff O’Neill attended the organization’s Nov. 3 general meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center that featured a paper ballot vote on a resolution to approve the 125-acre facility.
Candace Daley, MYSA’s executive director, confirmed a simple majority vote was needed for the resolution to pass.
The measure failed Saturday.
“It’s definitely a disappointment,” O’Neill said. “There didn’t seem to be enough benefit to individual clubs to garner the votes needed. They just weren’t ready to go forward on this measure.”
O’Neill said the city had received a letter of intent from MSYA for the property, but there was no purchase agreement
“The land eventually will be used for some type of agricultural use. The city is still going to go forward with its wastewater treatment planning,” O’Neill said.
According to O’Neill, over the past two years, MYSA had completed a due diligence process had settled on Monticello as a site to present to its membership.
“I don’t think it was the location,” O’Neill said. “The board picked Monticello because we have a lot of great attributes.”MYSA background materials presented August, September and October listed a land price of $2,500 an acre as one of those attributes.
A field and headquarters master plan prepared by MYSA included 24 full-size fields, a stadium field with bleacher seating for 3,500, three parking lots, a field with an inflatable dome, a 15,000 square-foot building with office, meeting, locker room and storage space, a plaza for awards ceremonies and events, children’s playgrounds and referee pavilions.
“Things of this nature have to be approved by our members,” Daley said. “This is something we’ve been talking about in our organization for about 20 years.”
Last Saturday’s general membership vote places the facility’s status in limbo, Daley added. A number of no votes came from one particular MYSA district.
“We thought we had the votes necessary going into Saturday’s meeting,” she said in a phone interview. “We needed a simple majority, and we were about 20 votes short of achieving that. It was very close. I’ve heard from a number of people who were not there, they were quite surprised, shocked and disappointed.”
According to Daley, if two MYSA clubs would have voted the other direction, the organization would have had the simple majority it needed to move ahead with the Monticello facility. “We were hoping to get maybe two-thirds so we would have a strong mandate, but unfortunately that did not happen.” Daley said.
Since last Saturday’s no vote, Daley said she’s received about a dozen calls and a dozen emails from members asking the MYSA board to continue to pursue the project.
“Our board and staff will be discussing this over the next few weeks,” she said. “We’ll take into consideration the feedback we’ve received, and we will decide if this is something we are going to work on over the course of the next year or if its something we will put aside.”
Daley also addressed a negative Oct. 25 vote by Wright County Planning Commission members.
“That was a rezoning application that we had submitted to the commission, and we know that was voted down 5-0” she said. “We were kind of regrouping and putting things on hold, because we knew we were approaching our annual general meeting, and needed to see what happened with our general membership. Right now, we aren’t sure if we are going to do anything in the short-term. Sometimes the timing isn’t right.”
According to O’Neill, Daley and the MYSA board had put together a solid proposal to develop future field space and a headquarters to serve the organization.
“They were looking at communities the past two or three years, but it’s been on their radar for a long, long, time,” O’Neill said. “For whatever combination of reasons, it didn’t mesh with what their membership was actually willing to support. Every [youth soccer] organization within MYSA has a different spin on this.”
Daley said the MYSA is extremely grateful to the city and community of Monticello for its help to date, directly crediting O’Neill and his staff for their hard work.
“We felt we really had a strong community and strategic partner in the city of Monticello,” she said. “Sometimes, it takes two or three tries,” she added, referring to the MYSA membership approval process. “You learn from that and go back at it again, whether it’s a year from now, five years from now, you try it again. There are still a lot of members who are supportive. I know our board of directors feels very strongly that this is in the best interest of our organization.”