Soccer stadium idea has residents on edge

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Soccer stadium idea has residents on edge

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Tom Archdeacon

No land has been purchased and no plan submitted, but some residents who live near one of three proposed sites for a Dayton Dutch Lions’ professional soccer complex have come out against it.

Several of them have expressed concerns to Washington Twp. trustees about the team’s interest in a location across Yankee Street from Southview Hospital.

South of Yankee Park, north of Miamisburg-Centerville Road and convenient to I-675, the land in question includes a single-family home on 4.5 acres owned by Dr. Suresh Gupta and the adjoining Woodhaven Swim and Tennis Club, on 11.5 acres at 7620 Yankee.

Residents have said they are concerned with the additional traffic the complex would create and the light pollution. Within 15 minutes of the Yankee Street location there are more than 250,000 people who live in more than 100,000 households.

Business manager Tony Cockerham said the Dutch Lions are considering three locations: “one in Miami Twp., one in Washington Twp and another in the Dayton area. We want to build a professional soccer stadium and youth complex. We hope to make a decision within the next couple of months.”

Cockerham would not specify addresses for any of the locations.

“The township has received no formal application from the Dayton Dutch Lions. We have talked to them about our zoning process. Neighbors surrounding the property have concerns,” said Washington Twp. administrator Jesse Lightle

A group of residents who live north of Yankee Park have retained attorney Paul Leonard to represent them if a project moves forward.

One of them, Mike Gibney of Beaushire Circle, told trustees the plan he was told about could include a 4,000-seat stadium, 1,200 parking places and a banquet center on property where a medical therapy and conference center had previously been proposed. Cockerham would not verify those plans.

Lightle said current zoning could allow a banquet center, but such a project would require a comprehensive traffic study, approval by the Montgomery County Planning Commission, the Washington Twp. Planning Commission, the township zoning commission and the trustees.

“We’ve had discussions, but there has been no formal proposal. We’re not in negotiations yet,” said Steve Marchal, board president for the Woodhaven Swim and Tennis Club, which is owned and governed by its 450 members. It was founded in the 1950s.

“The Dutch Lions and Dr. Gupta would need to jump through a lot of hoops to make this happen here. They would have to deal with rezoning and our members would have to approve. The board would never just up and sell our land. We would consider exchanging it for a pool somewhere else that would already have to be built and meet our needs.”

Marchal said the property “is prime real estate. It’s secluded, which we love, but if you knocked down a few trees you would have a clear view of I-675. You would have free advertising. You would have access to I-75 and I-70.”

Founded in 2009, the Dutch Lions FC plays its home games at Beavercreek High School’s stadium. It was previously based at Bellbrook High’s facilities and has also played at Springboro High School. Its name refers to its ongoing partnership with the top-level Dutch club FC Twente.

Co-owner and president Mike Mossel has said that a soccer-specific home stadium with 6,000 seats under cover would help the team develop a fan base.

The men’s professional team was promoted in 2011 from the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League to its Professional Division as a third tier member of the American Soccer Pyramid.

It has provided tough recent competition for higher-tier teams including the Major Soccer League’s Columbus Crew and will host England’s Wigan Athletic FC, winner of the 2013 Football Association Challenge Cup, on Tuesday at Piqua High School’s Wertz Stadium. Team offices are in West Carrollton.

The Dutch Lions also field a women’s pro-am team that won its 2013 league championship and coordinate youth programs.

According to Montgomery County records, current valuation for the swim club’s land and improvements is $361,830. Property taxes in 2012 were $11,568, plus $782 in assessments.

Dr. Gupta, who did return calls for comment, bought the home at 7666 Yankee St. in 2011 for $350,000.

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