County signing AYSO lease

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Blair County and the Altoona division of the American Youth Soccer Organization are signing a new lease allowing soccer games on the fields beside Valley View Home through June 2018.

“We all came out ahead, especially the kids,” AYSO Regional Commissioner Faber Moyer said.

The agreement calls for the organization to make a $1 annual payment to the county and to keep the grass mowed.

The county’s prior lease required AYSO to pay $2,250 annually to the county to help cover the expense the county incurred for grass cutting, Blair County Commissioner Terry Tomassetti said.

“Financially, I think it’s going to be a break-even deal,” Moyer said. “But we now have the fields for the next four years, and we’re very happy about that.”

In late December, the soccer organization feared losing access to the fields when commissioners decided to include them in a proposal to sell Valley View Home and surrounding grounds. When AYSO members protested, commissioners initially declined to reconsider. But they later reconsidered and sold the home to Reliant Valley View Limited Liability Corp. for a high bid of $16.5 million without the fields. The sale was effective June 1.

Moyer said his organization might try to arrange the grass cutting through Reliant, because the company acquired the tractor previously used to cut the grass around the home and on the soccer fields. But other options will be considered too, he said.

Tomassetti said the new agreement designates AYSO’s use of the field for practices and games in April and May which are part of the organization’s spring season, then again in August, September, October for the organization’s fall season. At all other times, the fields are available for public use, Tomassetti said.

AYSO developed the soccer fields on the county’s ground in the early 1990s, with the blessing and support of county commissioners. They were created after the county won a ruling in court, dismissing objections by Altoona City Council members to the creation of soccer fields on land zoned for limited industrial use.

After the court ruling, AYSO sought donations of time, labor and money to create the soccer fields on the county’s ground.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.