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Groundbreaking held for new Elizabethton soccer field

Contributed • Oct 25, 2018 at 9:02 PM

ELIZABETHTON —Years of effort to improve the infrastructure for soccer in Elizabethton was celebrated Thursday morning when city government leaders, city school officials, directors from the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County and members of the Elizabethan Soccer Association met with the LaPorte Family to break ground on the LaPorte Sports Complex on the grounds of the former Carter County Memorial Hospital.

Director of Schools Corey Gardenhour thanked everyone for coming to the groundbreaking and said “We appreciate City Council and the LaPortes and their vision for healthy kids, and we believe a lot of that begins with physical activity. It’s great that we’re now able to occupy this unused space, and to have kids getting outside playing and competing in a central location.”

The field will be used as a practice field for the Elizabethton City Schools teams and will also be used by the soccer association and by the Boys and Girls Club for such activities as kids and teens soccer, adult flag football, junior football, and other sports.

“We would love to host soccer tournaments here as well, and really hope this will be the start of similar projects and possibly an additional field,” Gardenhour said.

At the groundbreaking, Elizabethton Board of Education Chairwoman Rita Booher asked how many people in attendance had been born at the former hospital. Many raised their hands. “I think it’s cool that this place gets a second life,” Booher said. “It was a place that kept people healthy for a long time, and now it gets to do that again.”

Sam LaPorte said his family is excited to be involved and that this will be a great use for the space. “We have way too many kids that aren’t involved in exercise and sports, and we need more places for them to do that,” he said. “This will help us accomplish that for the next generation.”

The property will continue to be owned by the city. An agreement was recently approved by the council allowing the athletic field to be installed.

The field has been graded and seeded, and LaPorte said the goal is to have it ready by the summer or fall of 2019.

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