Johnston County — A Johnston County youth soccer league wants a soccer complex to call home.
It needs county commissioners' approval to build three fields on land it has already purchased. But the group is facing some tough opponents – neighbors.
Donald Parker is vice president of the Johnston United Soccer Association - a league with 550 kids, ages four to 18. They practice at schools and city parks and have spent about $10,000 renting fields.
"When kids are younger, we can play on baseball outfields, fields that are smaller. But when they're older, we need full-sized fields for kids to play on. Those are very scarce in Johnston County,” Parker said.
The problem, according to the group, is that other organizations need to use the fields as well.
J-USA has decided it needs its own soccer complex. One parent bought 25 acres off Jordan-Narron Road. Plans call for three soccer fields, lights and 120 parking spots.
Michael Bavaro lives 300 feet away from the proposed field.
“Right now, you can hear birds. You can hear frogs,” he said.
Bavaro says he moved into the country to get away. He is concerned about the noise and increased traffic on the two-lane rural road.
“If we have to be subjected to that much noise, then the purpose of living in the country becomes obsolete,” he said. “My fears are you'll see and read about an accident coming off that corner."
More than two-dozen neighbors have already hired an attorney to battle the proposed field, according to Bavaro.
"You can't expect 100 kids to be out here playing soccer and not be noisy,” he said. “I've had people tell me parents are even louder, rooting on the kids."
Parker said his soccer group will build a natural buffer. Plus, they have already raised $30,000 to get the soccer complex idea rolling.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re the one that have to pay for this, but the need is that strong,” Parker said.
County commissioners will vote on the proposal Monday night. People from both sides plan to show up in full force. If approved, the soccer group hopes to have the fields ready by next spring.