Soccer grant may be lost

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 11, 2005


Staff Reporter

EDGARD – A $100,000 grant issued to St. John the Baptist Parish Recreation Department for the construction of a soccer field on the west bank, may be refused due to the demands of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on funding programs and projects developing players, referees and coaches with specific emphasis on the economically disadvantaged urban areas with cash and equipment nationwide.

“The west bank is exactly this,” said Lester Rainey Jr., councilman and representative for the west bank. “The parish pays for a grant locating service and we saw this grant and Raynett Lennix (Dir. of the Dept. of Health and Human Services) wrote up the request for funding.”

While writing up the request, Lennix noticed reference on the web-site to “project partners.” These are the people the U.S. Soccer Foundation use to prepare the soccer fields and anyone using the grant money has to use these people, according to Rainey.

“The project partners was a good idea,” said Rainey. “The problem was, we began to be leery of the grant when we found that the actual cost to construct the total project would be $646,000 and the grant was only for $100,000, meaning we would have to come up with the remaining $546,000.”

Rainey said his first reaction was to shelve the whole idea, but decided to stay positive and sent the request anyway to see if they could get the grant. An official letter was received notifying the Dept. of Parks and Rec. of the money.

“We were going to refuse the grant,” said Rainey. “Unless they agree to not use the turf and come down from the cost, we will have to wait. I would like to work something out in order to do a 50/50 match. I can come up with $100,000, but not $300,000 to $400,000.”

Rainey said the layout for the recreational complex was received last month and construction just started. Grants have already been received to build a skateboard park, gymnasium, infrastructure and to buy new playground equipment.

“We are taking it one day at a time,” said Rainey. “We are going as quickly as we can and hope do have everything complete within three years.”