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Soccer Park Stirs High Hopes

Redding, CA – City officials and tourism promotion types are hoping the local economy will get a kick from Redding’s $10 million soccer park, which opens in April.

The 23-acre facility adjacent to Big League Dreams in east Redding sports four all-weather NCAA-regulation fields covered in synthetic turf.

The hope is the park will “become a tournament and training center for the whole north state,” said Kim Niemer, the city’s director of community services. It’s leased to and will be run by the nonprofit Shasta Regional Soccer Association.

In recent years, the city has bet heavily on sports as part of its economic development strategy — spending $5 million to build the Redding Aquatic Center and $17 million on Big League Dreams.

Hotel tax revenue rose 10 percent in the first five months of the fiscal year that began in July, said city Tourism Manager Bob Warren. That represented about $1.74 million in revenue for area hotels. That increase followed similar gains the prior year, he said. The Aquatic Center added $500,000 to the local economy this summer, Niemer estimated.

The artificial turf at the soccer park will give Redding a “leg up” when competing against other venues, Warren said. “We can promise your tournament won’t get canceled” because of fears that playing on a rain-soaked grass field would tear up the sod.

Steve Kinder of the Best Western Hilltop Inn said he hopes the soccer park will bring visitors to the area during the slow months of November through March.

“Softball tournaments and swim meets now attract thousands to our city, but most of those athletes arrive in summer when we’re already busy,” he said.

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