El Paso USL is making its facility plans, as the club has entered into an agreement for a training facility and is pitching Southwest University Park upgrades.
Set to begin Division II USL play in 2019, El Paso is an expansion club backed by the MountainStar Sports Group. The ownership group has struck an agreement with the City of El Paso that will allow the team to conduct training at Westside Sports Complex, an arrangement that calls for MountainStar to make $500,000 in upgrades to two of the complex’s 13 fields.
As part of the agreement, the two fields will remain open to the public when they are not being used by the team or undergoing maintenance. The agreement was unanimously approved by the El Paso City Council on Tuesday. More from the El Paso Times:
The community will still have access to those two fields, said Sam Rodriguez, city engineer.
“Our biggest demand for play is on Saturdays, our expectation moving forward, as we work with them in the scheduling, is that those fields are available on Saturday for league play as well as tournaments.” Rodriguez said.
Field improvements will include replacing the turf, installing fencing and netting, and the construction of a building where the team will be able to keep its maintenance equipment. The city will be responsible for watering the fields. In addition, the city will provide 20 parking spaces for the team.
The contract was initially approved for 2 years and five months with the option to exercise up to three one-year extension.
The practice fields are just one part of the El Paso USL facility plan. MountainStar is also proposing to spend roughly $3.5 million in upgrades for Southwest University Park, with the investments intended to make the Minor League Baseball facility more compatible to professional soccer on a temporary basis. That proposal is set to be presented to the city council on October 16.
Southwest University Park is also home to baseball’s El Paso Chihuahuas (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), another club that is owned by MountainStar. Sister site Ballpark Digest named Southwest University Park its Best New Ballpark in 2014.
Rendering of Southwest University Park in soccer configuration courtesy El Paso USL.