Florence begins work on new 14-field soccer complex

Florence begins work on new 14-field soccer complex
Construction is underway on an upcoming soccer complex. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
Construction is underway on an upcoming soccer complex. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - One city in the Pee Dee is getting some extra attention in recreation development.

Construction broke ground back in May and the city of Florence is on its way to getting a brand new 14-field soccer complex.

The project will not only raise the bar on recreation development in Florence, but all over the region. The city hopes to give them a new home of soccer fields to play and host tournaments.

It's been in the talk for the past 10 years, and the city recently got serious about bringing a $7 million soccer complex to the area. The all-natural Bermuda grass sod fields will sit on 140 acres of property right off West Palmetto Street and Interstate 95.

"There are recreational level teams and there are competitive teams that travel and play all over the state and all over the south east," said Chuck Pope, public works director for the city of Florence. "So that will be what entices us in the future. We'll be hosting those tournaments for the traveling competitive soccer teams."

Pope added there are around 450 current players in the recreation leagues run by Florence volunteers. He said this project is also similar to Freedom Florence Complex.

"It will draw crowds to this area and with the larger crowds coming to play soccer, and they will also want restaurants and hotels," Pope said.

City officials believe this soccer complex is doing more than bringing development.

"We're looking at it not only as a benefit for recreation, but as an economic impact to the Florence community," Pope said

The city is paying for the water and sewer infrastructure for the access road leading to the 14 fields. They received a donation of the 140 acres of land and $6 million from the Dr.'s Bruce and Lee Foundation. The goal for everyone involved is to plan for what could come with a soccer complex like this.

Pope said the city of Florence is open to any sort of commercial growth. The complex will not only be there for the current ones playing, but for the new and developing kids as they come along as well.

The city hopes all of the fields will be ready for play by the end of January.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.