OLEAN – Residents of Grossman Avenue voiced opposition Monday night to a plan that would create soccer fields in the their neighborhood.
During a meeting with the Planning Board, residents of the East Side neighborhood of about 50 homes near the Cutco manufacturing facility addressed plans for the even-field soccer complex, which would be used by teams affiliated with the Olean Soccer Club. The fields would be developed on a 4.5-acre lot, with parking for 60 cars.
Residents’ concerns include noise, traffic and the potential to unearth contamination at the site, which was previously used for industry.
“I have lived in this neighborhood for 42 years, and it has always been a quiet place,” one resident said. “Now, you want to bring in all that noise, all that traffic – and what about the trash?”
Kris Linderman, president of the soccer organization, defended the project.
“This plan would enable us to have a much safer place for these young players to play,” he said.
Currently, fields along Spring Street, near Eastview Elementary School, pose a danger to younger players, Linderman said.
“Every year, we average three close calls of soccer balls going into the road and players or other children chasing them,” he said. “What we want to do is offer a place for these smaller children to play without the need to worry about them being hit.”
Linderman said that although fences are in place, they don’t eliminate the threat.
Grossman Avenue residents asked about using the funds to install better fencing at the current site. However, the property is owned by the school district, officials said.
“We are fortunate that they let us use the fields, as it is,” Linderman said. “As a reminder, we would not be leaving that facility, but moving our younger players to the new fields. Older players would still be at the Spring Street facility.”
The Planning Board tabled action on a special-use permit for the parking lot of the proposed soccer complex, and promised to address issues of noise and contamination before the next meeting July 14.
“We want to be good neighbors,” Linderman told the nearly 80 residents at the hearing.