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CCBA sports park kicks off to fast start

  • Bill Miles, executive director of the Lightning Soccer Club, back, coaches Dean Crosby, 7, of Lebanon, during his turn in the goal at practice in the Sports Park at CCBA in Lebanon, N.H., on Oct. 14, 2021. The park's two enclosed turf fields and one multi-sport surface are now open. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Felipe Severino, left, talks with Petra McGillen, holding her son Charles, as their sons practice with the Lightning Soccer Club at the Sports Park at CCBA in Lebanon, N.H., on Oct. 14, 2021. The park opened on Oct. 4. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Ledyard Charter School students Sabrina Lopez, 14, left, and Austin Stevens, 15, kick the ball around on one of two enclosed turf fields at the Sports Park at CCBA in Lebanon, N.H., on Oct. 14, 2021. When not reserved, the fields, including a third multi-sport surface, can be used by the public after checking in at the nearby CCBA Witherell Recreation Center. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Bill Miles, executive director of the Lightning Soccer Club, in green, demonstrates a shooting drill during a practice at the Sports Park at CCBA in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. The park's two enclosed turf fields and one multi-sport surface are now open. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/14/2021 10:09:03 PM
Modified: 10/14/2021 10:09:12 PM

LEBANON — One month after The Sports Park at CCBA opened, its founders are pleased.

The park, with two turf fields and a street hockey rink, opened outside the Carter Community Building Association’s Witherell Recreation Center in Lebanon on Sept. 18. It’s a joint project between CCBA and New England Sports Park Inc., a New Hampshire public-benefit corporation formed by Bill Miles, Dan McGee and Ben Lovejoy.

Miles, who is also executive director of Lightning Soccer Club, said the area has embraced the park quickly.

“What’s been great is the support of the community, from Leb Rec and the town, and having folks from the city come over,” Miles said Thursday. “There’s a lot of foot traffic from the apartment building back in behind there to town, and kids watching and cheering and asking to use the fields.”

The park has been busy. Miles said there’s been a lot of soccer played on the turf fields already, between Lightning, an adult league and pickup games. He said a high school league is starting up in November.

He said park use has exceeded expectations so far.

“I was forecasting about 20% utilization for the time when we’re awake, and we’re closer to 30% right now, so that’s good,” Miles said. “It’s been exciting.”

The original plan called for just one turf field and a permanent street hockey rink, but during construction, the group realized the hockey surface wouldn’t work out how they originally designed it. So they pivoted and turned that space into a second turf field, and they set up a temporary street hockey surface on one of the adjacent tennis courts.

Miles said his group felt the second turf field would be a better investment while they’re still offering an option for the hockey community. He said the high demand for the turf fields already has backed that up.

In addition to the soccer and futsal, there’s a field hockey group using the fields on Tuesdays. He said there’s also been interest in using the fields for lacrosse and baseball in the spring.

CCBA executive director Kerry Artman attributed the change in plans to an engineering issue.

“We were all bringing a new concept together, trying to marry up the urban Sports Park walls with the multi-sport flooring. They just didn’t tie together the way that they had anticipated,” Artman said. “It ended up working out fine for everybody. We just have an extra turf field now.”

They’ll take down the hockey setup during the spring, when the Lebanon High tennis program will need three courts for workouts and matches. The hockey court will go back after high school tennis season ends.

The fields can be rented in advance, whether for long-term commitments or for hourly use. When not reserved, they’re available for public use by checking in at the CCBA front desk and signing a form. Miles has already seen many groups take advantage of that option. He’s seen kids playing football, dodgeball, soccer and more, and he’s hoping even more people continue using the facility.

Artman is satisfied with the park as well.

“We’re thrilled. I think it looks amazing,” Artman said. “People have really reacted positively to it. We’ve had different people from all over come and use the facility.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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