Questions remain on future of Armstrong Memorial Field
News Review Staff Writer
When members of the public protested the removal of the monument at Armstrong Memorial Field, Vice Mayor Jason Patin denied that the city had any plans to remove it and cautioned the public against believing any reports to that nature by newspapers or citizens.
Mike Tosti raised several concerns over the city’s plan to give football exclusive access to the current home of local soccer teams, as well as Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ponek’s attempt to remove the monument.
“I don’t know where these people get their information,” said Patin. “From what I understand, the monument is going nowhere. That’s coming from our Parks and Rec. director, anyway.”
But an agreement signed by Ponek corroborates the concern expressed from the public microphone.
“IWV Youth Football League will have exclusive usage of the Jackson Sports Complex Field Number 1 and Field Number 2 behind the Tennis Courts and the Upper Field next to the Skate Park,” reads the agreement.
“These fields used to be known as the Matt Armstrong Soccer Fields. They now will be known as the Jackson Football Fields. (The city intends to relocate the Matt Armstrong concrete sign to a soccer field location to be determined.)”
Although the apparent contradiction between the contract and Patin’s professed position of the city has been challenged (see related letter, Page 4), the greater public outcry seems to be over the displacement of what some claim is the most populated team sport in the valley.
Ponek’s plan for soccer calls for moving the clubs to two different locations — both of which are too small, and one of which is still undeveloped, say officials.
His proposal for converting Freedom Park into a soccer field has drawn criticism since it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars the city does not have, but Tosti added that the conversion would be disrespectful to the veterans the park is currently dedicated to honoring.
Ponek has declined interviews with the News Review on the subject.Story First Published: 2013-07-24