Champaign park board to vote on deal for lights at Dodds soccer field

Champaign park board to vote on deal for lights at Dodds soccer field

CHAMPAIGN — Soccer matches could be played under the lights at Dodds Park by the end of April.

On Wednesday night, the Champaign Park Board is expected to vote on an agreement with Illinois Futbol Club that will pave the way for lights to be put up at one of the soccer fields at the park.

Under the agreement, the club will spend $176,842 to pay in advance for 10 years of leases at the soccer field.

The park district will then use that money to put up the lights at Field 8, one of those next to the concession stand.

Park District Executive Director Joe DeLuce said the district will spend another $80,000 use the poles being installed at Field 8 to put in additional backlighting at two adjacent fields.

While the backlighting will not provide enough light to hold games on those fields, DeLuce said there will be enough for those two fields to be used for practices.

Illinois Futbol Club Executive Director Kevin Love said the youth organization, which was known as the Little Illini Soccer Club until 2011, has long wanted a place to play soccer games at night.

Love said he anticipates the lighted soccer field would initially be used by groups age 13 and up.

If the agreement is approved by the park board, DeLuce said installation of the lights should be completed by the end of April.

Under the agreement, the Illini Futbol Club will have priority access to the lighted field during the fall and spring seasons from 4 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

The group will have priority usage of all other fields after park district programs and special events at the Dodds Soccer Complex.

The park board's meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the Bresnan Meeting Center, 706 Kenwood Road, C.