After competing bids, private company will allow nonprofit to use fields for $1

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Court One Athletics said it will allow the Dubuque Soccer Alliance, if certain conditions are met, to use its facilities for $1.

The two competed against each other to buy the Dubuque Community School District’s Soccer Complex with different plans for the land. After the board indicated it supported the bid from the private company in Arizona, Court One Athletics, the move is supposed to settle concerns from the nonprofit.

“I think it’s going to put a smile on their faces and they’re all going to enjoy what we are going to do,” said Mark Dyer with Court One Athletics.

The Dubuque Soccer Alliance has leased the fields from the district for decades to run youth soccer programs. It tried to buy the facility to keep the soccer fields and told TV9 last Thursday it had many concerns over losing fields from a multisport complex.

Anderson Sainci, Tami Ryan and Lisa Wittman, who are school board members for the Dubuque Community School District, said they liked the private company offering multiple sports rather than just soccer.

Documents show the Alliance’s bid was for about $1.5 Million, which it said was the complex’s assessed value. Documents show the private company in Arizona offered $1.8 Million.

Nancy Bradley, who is a school board member for Dubuque Community Schools, said the district needed to consider the larger offer because it’s selling the property to generate more funding. She said the funding was needed due to a lack of funding from the state.

Jon Dunham, who is the vice president of the Dubuque Soccer Alliance, said he doesn’t believe the higher offer should matter to the district since it is a small part of the district’s larger budget. He said the school board should have given more consideration to its bid since it’s been maintaining the fields for decades with volunteers.

“There’s some equity out there that we have,” Dunham said. “While legally it may not matter to them, ethically it means the world to us and our parents and our families when its time to make these types of decisions, and quite frankly it’s a slap in the face to the people who spent their time and energy making it what it is.”

School Board Member Tami Ryan, who said she had a daughter playing soccer, dismissed this argument for the Alliance. She said the district has no special right to buy the field like any other renter, who makes improvements.

“If you rent a house and you put a lot of improvements into it yourself when that owner goes to sell it, you can’t come back and say I should get it because I did it,” Ryan said.