ONEONTA, 8/7/08 -- On the heels of the annual induction ceremony at the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum, State Senator James L. Seward announced $ 300,000 in capital funding for the hall to construct an additional competition soccer field. Seward announced the economic development grant at the hall today.
Seward and hall officials say the additional field offers the NYS Public High School Athletic Association a compelling reason to make the Hall of Fame campus the permanent home of the boys’ state soccer championships, which brings 6,000-8,000 fans to Oneonta each year. The additional field resolves concerns about the limited fields.
"This is about job growth and economic development for Oneonta and the county by utilizing our assets and boosting tourism, " Seward said. "We have the only soccer hall of fame in the nation -- we’re building on that and growing it into the national shrine of soccer. The spin off effect helps restaurants, lodging, and retailers and ultimately it’s a shot in the arm for our sales tax receipts -- leading to a more prosperous Oneonta and Otsego County."
"We are elated and thankful to receive this grant that will add an additional competitive field to the already exceptional Wright National Soccer Campus," said Stephen H. Baumann, president of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum. "For over 20 years, Senator Seward has been a dedicated supporter of our efforts to make Oneonta and the Soccer Hall of Fame a destination attraction for soccer fans from every corner of New York and the United States. We are hopeful that with this enhancement Oneonta will become the home of both the boys’ and the girls’ New York State High School Soccer Championships."
In addition, the fifth field gives the hall the chance to bid for other competitions that require five fields and to host more league championship matches.
The field, 120 by 75 yds, will be adjacent to the current four fields and offer an improved playing surface. The senate award will fund grading, drainage, irrigation, goals, benches scoreboard and bleacher seating for 250 spectators.
Hall officials noted that almost all of the competitions require an overnight stay, and that food services at the hall are minimal -- making local businesses the financial beneficiary of tourist dollars.
"It’s going to push the hall another step forward and provide a real boost to the Oneonta economy, " Seward said. "This is truly about economic development, and helping business activity here in our area."
The funding is from the state’s capital program for economic assistance.