For the last 20 years, those with a vested interest in soccer have tried to develop a landfill into a 60-acre sports complex. Finally, Marathon County is in a position to help make that happen.
The County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of the former Holtz Krause landfill property at the end of Kent Street in Wausau.
County Administrator Brad Karger says the county can take ownership because the Department of Natural Resources granted it a liability exemption.
That means the county won't be responsible for any pollution associated with the landfill. But Karger is certain the property is clean.
"In reality this is a very well closed landfill," Karger said. "It has been very well done and nobody's expecting any problems with it."
Soccer clubs are delighted they'll finally have a central location to play.
David Welles, who has coached soccer for 20 years, and is the head coach for the girls varsity team at Wausau East High School, says there are soccer fields around town of varying quality.
"We have a number of soccer fields in the community but we don't have any large blocks of fields together and that's really the critical aspect to this," he said.
Welles says there are 2,200 youth and adult players involved in the sport throughout the area, and having the centralized sports complex will give them a chance to host big tournaments.
Welles isn't worried about possible contamination left behind from the landfill.
"There is literature, there are memoranda and letters dating back into the late 90s saying no there is no environmental concerns," Welles said.
Once developed, the complex will have 15 soccer fields right next to the new curling facility.
The county, city and Holtz and Krause Steering Committee will pay for the property.
Money set aside for cleaning up groundwater contamination, that Karger says is no longer necessary, will be used toward developing the fields.
The soccer fields are projected to be ready for action in 2014.
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