HOLLIDAYSBURG - Representatives for the American Youth Soccer Organization asked Blair County commissioners Tuesday to slow down when it comes to the proposed sale of Valley View Home and the grounds where 457 youth played soccer last year.
"What in God's name is the hurry?" former AYSO leader Judy Roberts asked commissioners Tuesday. "I think there's a lot at stake here."
Commissioners, who last week said they were including the soccer fields in a description of the Valley View Home property that will be advertised for sale, showed no signs of slowing down.
Mirror photos by J.D. Cavrich
Altoona Area High School sophomore James Metzgar addresses the Blair County commissioners about playing on the AYSO?soccer fields as a child.
After last week's meeting, Marcus & Millichap, the Chicago real estate investment firm hired to market the facility, distributed 2,580 notices describing the home and site, senior associate Joshua Jandris said Tuesday. In response, the company got 35 inquiries and expects more.
"Which is very good," Jandris said.
Commissioners, working on a request for proposal to be distributed to potential buyers, agreed Tuesday to ask that the soccer fields be available to AYSO through October 2013 when soccer season ends. AYSO's current lease with the county is valid through June.
Further discussion and a vote on the request for proposal is set for Tuesday.
Roberts, who spearheaded an effort in the late 1980s that led to creation of the soccer fields, reminded commissioners of AYSO's investment and its value to the community.
"You have quite an improved site there," she said.
Denise Zimmerman Davis, whose former construction company leveled and groomed the former hilly area into a flat surface for soccer grounds, urged the commissioners to reconsider.
"You guys are reaping a harvest because of our work," Davis said. "When that field of dreams was built, it was done out of love and for the generations to come."
"Parents literally moved mountains to make this happen," AYSO Commissioner Faber Moyer said.
Commissioners Chairman Terry Tomassetti said the soccer fields were included in a description of the site because for some potential buyers, that will be viewed an area for future expansion.
Commissioners also pointed to access and parking issues they believe will surface if the home is sold and the soccer grounds are not.
"Access is a big issue and that's what changed my mind," Commissioner Diane Meling said.
Architect Stephen Parks suggested commissioners make the soccer fields an option for buyers to consider or take an action so fields remain available to AYSO until a buyer/owner is ready to develop. The risk, Parks said, is that a buyer will subdivide the property and sell to another developer.
Meling showed interest in Parks's suggestion.
"I certainly don't want to see it subdivided and sold off for another usage," Meling said.
A few soccer players were among the AYSO representatives at the meeting.
Altoona Area High School soccer player Chad Allender told commissioners he remembers scoring his first soccer goal on the Valley View grounds when he played for AYSO.
"Let other children have the same opportunities I've had," Allender said.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.