This is the second of a two part series on Project Pele and the progress of the six soccer fields.

Boonville Assistant to the City Administrator Kate Fjell knew it was only a matter of time before the city of Boonville had a sports complex.
Fjell just didn’t know if the sports complex would involve baseball or soccer.
“With a big push from the baseball community to add fields to the already six in Boonville, Fjell said the committee decided there were so many baseball fields already there and they would be one of 100 other options so they felt like soccer was a better fit just because there wasn’t soccer out there,” Fjell said.
As it turned out, the city of Boonville decided to add six soccer fields near Boonville High School.
Fjell talks about Project Pele with a one on one interview.
When this project is complete is it going to be open to the public? Can anybody play on it or do you have to contact the city first to play on the fields?
We want to know who is on the fields. We want it to be available for the community and yes anyone could rent a field or rent it for a complex. However its just important to us who is on it and we are clear about the rules and expectations because it is a big investment. There are a lot of opportunity for other sports to be played on it. You could do almost anything on that turf such as ultimate frisbee. If there is a ultimate frisbee league in Boonville they could certainly utilize those fields, but we just want them to go through the reservation process online.
Will the complex be locked up?
Yes, there is fencing and almost all of the fields are nearly or completely fenced off with a gate so there is access.
Will the high school soccer team be using the field for practice?
That is part of the conversation. At our last meeting we said because of the practice field situation that if the soccer team wants to practice that’s a perfect fit. We told them for sure this year and then we will revisit it next year once their practice field is ready. I also know they want to play on their home field.
What about bleachers at the fields?
We are not putting very many bleachers on there. Fields 1 and 2 will ultimately have a natural step and then the same with the sod field. It will be grass or it may be concrete, we are not sure on that exactly. The trick is on those soccer tournaments, depending on your age, you are a different size field. For the little tiny guys that are 3 vs. 3 or 5 vs. 5 we may end up having people on the end line watching because you are going to have eight fields on one soccer field.
Are all these fields the same size?
Yes, they are all the same size. The sod field is slightly smaller because we never anticipate playing on it with the smaller kids. That field will only be used for full-sided championship games. Then obviously we have the multi-purpose field on Field 6 that has the little extra bump out because it could accommodate softball.
What happened to the multi-purpose field? There are no lines for baseball or softball on the field.
It’s there. We didn’t put lines on it and the reason we didn’t is because if you look at the football field when you add lines it starts cluttering up and with the advent of temporary paint there is no reason. You can have temporary paint last 3-4 months so if we know if there was going to be a use we’ll line it and put temporary paint on it and that way we have the ability in case we have a lacrosse team from Columbia, which is another group of people who have called us and expressed interest in using it. It just got too complicated to decide what you line and what do you not so we just stuck with the full field line and that’s it and anything else we can temporary line.
How do you anticipate this to go for the first year? Is the first year going to be a trial period?
It’s going to be a trial experience and we don’t want to be like overly scheduled the first year because we really want a few things to see how things go. We ant to be cautious and hopefully what we do is fairly small. There are some bigger stuff planned ahead for us next fall as far as tournaments.
Are you going to do a ribbon cutting?
We do plan on doing a ribbon cutting. We thought that would be fun to let people see it and get out on it. We are really proud of it, we think it’s a great asset for the community and I think it’s an incredible opportunity for us to try something different in terms of economic development for the community also. Sports tourism is big dollars so we are excited to be ahead of the curve in central Missouri so I think that puts us in a unique position.
What about feedback from the community?
I think a lot of people really like it and they are happy to see it and happy to see the investment and other people wish we would have built baseball fields or something else, so I think it’s really going to be interesting to see how it all comes out and what are the impacts.
This started back in 2015, what was the reason for adding six soccer fields?
We had kind of talked about it. A former city council person had been to Kansas for a baseball tournament and said we should have a sports complex and why don’t we build one and it sort of dovetailed when we were talking with Hail Ridge at the time and the Rapp family about their plans for housing and the golf course. We had initially actually looked at putting it out there. About that time the school district approached us and they had to clear some of their land around their property so we partnered with them. We looked at baseball fields but ultimately we just decided there were so many more baseball fields already out there that we weren’t just one of 100 other options and we felt like soccer was a better fit just because there wasn’t soccer out there. There just wasn’t a place to play. Columbia has a complex but it’s all natural grass so they are always having to prepare for a rainout or rain delays, so we looked around and said there is nobody else that we are competing with and once we made that decision than we made sort of the next strategic decision, that if we are going to do it we are going to do the best we can of everything to start with. We didn’t want to try and do anything mid-range so we went with the best lights and the best turf we can get so we are trying to make ourselves the top.
Are these fields on city property or school property?
Its the school district and the city. It kind of splits. Fields 1 and 2 are on the school property and they are turf. The championship field is half us and half school, and then the practice field and Field 5 is on the school’s property. Fields 6 and 7 are properties of the city.
What about bathrooms, concessions and parking?
We did a lot of research on bathrooms and in all of our discussions with Overland Park, Kansas, which was a really good resource, they said if you have a tournament that fills up, you can’t have enough bathrooms. You just have to bring in porta potties. We will also have handwashing stations. The school has agreed to let us use some of their spaces for now. The concessions will also be open and will be run by the Simmons family. As far as parking, we figure we have parking for the fields because of the way soccer tournaments work. We’ll also have sidewalks all the way throughout. It’s a mile of sidewalks.
Do you look for this to be something that is here for 20 years?
Absolutely. Who knows what might come out of it for the next project but I think it’s been a really fun project. I think it will be really good for the city and I think it’s just been a good partnership with the school, too, so I am really thankful for them. They have been really patient.