City, AYSA to develop multipurpose sports fields near Abilene Zoo

Multipurpose fields could be added to Nelson Park east of the Abilene Zoo after the Abilene City Council on Thursday voted to entered into an agreement with Abilene Youth Sports Authority.

The AYSA built and operates an indoor sports facility – Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center – south of where the outdoor fields will be located. The proposed 10 outdoor flat fields will be for soccer, football and other related sports.

In other action, the council approved the city entering an agreement with the Abilene Improvement Corporation for the demolition of the former office building of the Abilene Reporter-News at 101 Cypress St.

AIC took possession of the building Dec. 31.

The local news and sports staff now is located in the First Financial West Building in downtown Abilene.

The council did not discuss future plans for the lot after it is razed at a cost of about $500,000, City Manager Robert Hanna said.

Fields could attract sports tourism

Under a memorandum of agreement between the city and AYSA, the city will provide $5 million in cash or in-kind services for the fields and development of related infrastructure, such as parking and water and sewer lines.

AYSA will have 12 months to raise $10 million for the project. If the fields come to fruition, the nonprofit will manage them under a lease with the city for $1 a year for 40 years.

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