PALESTINE — “If you build it, they will come,” Alex Patel, owner of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Palestine, told the Herald-Press Wednesday regarding a million-dollar soccer complex the Palestine YMCA is gearing up to build.
Thanks to a $200,000 donation provided by Patel, the youth organization is planning to break ground on the project by next spring, which the Palestine YMCA Board of Directors assess will bring not only more soccer games but also economic development to the area.
In honor of Patel's donation, the site will be named the Alex Patel Soccer Complex, which will boast multiple soccer fields, a Boy Scout Nature Trail, pavilion, picnic area, parking lots and other facilities. The complex will be located atop 75 green acres just outside the city limits on the intersection of Texas 19 and U.S. 287 North.
David Hendricks, chief executive officer for the Palestine YMCA, said their hope is to have the complex finished by the fall of 2015.
“The Y has already purchased 75 acres that's outside of town, where (highways) 19 and 287 come together,” he said. “And this is our vision: our goal for this is these will be game-day and tournament fields, and so these will be irrigated” — Hendricks pointed to the map — “and this will be a first-class complex out there.”
Hendricks and Patel agreed that the complex indeed represents a sort of “field of dreams” — not only for the area, as a surefire way of boosting economic development, but also in regard to the impact the complex will have in children's lives.
“This all came about because we've got 500 kids playing soccer here, and so it's our largest sport here at the Y, and we need a nice place for these kids to play,” Hendricks said. “The underlying factor in this is we're changing kids' lives... And we've reached out to the community, and folks like Alex have stepped up and said, 'Yeah, that is a good thing. Let's make this happen.'”