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Commissioners speaking out about soccer funds

READ MORE: Commissioners speaking out about soccer funds
New Hanover County commissioners are disagreeing over the decision to give a private soccer organization thousands of dollars. $150,000 will be given to the cape fear soccer association over the next three years. The money will help build seven soccer fields here at the park off Highway 421. Some people though, believe the money could be going to a more deserving cause. County Commissioner Nancy Pritchett said, "This was the wrong thing to do. I have said from day one we do not go and use public money for a private enterprise." Pritchett voted against the funding for the cape fear soccer association. She says the money should be used to fix up the fields at local schools instead. Pritchett said, "Every kid could play there every day of the year, soccer kids could play, baseball kids could play, kids who just want to chase each other could play." The organizer of another soccer group -- Port City Soccer -- agrees. Trey Folcher said, "We all need more green space, but let's make it more utilitarian if we're going to be granting so much money and spending so much money, let's make it where anyone can use it, and not just soccer players." Folcher and Pritchett also say the county's decision might lead to even more requests for public funding. Folcher said, "We would rather not but now that the door is wide open, why not?" County Commissioner Bill Caster voted for giving funding to the Cape Fear Soccer Association. Caster said, "They need some help right now and they have built seven fields the county did not have to build." Caster says the seven fields being built in the park will reduce wear and tear on the county's public fields. He says he made his decision with the community in mind. "I guess I can understand the argument in a way, but it's for New Hanover County residents," Caster said. The county has given money to other non-profit organizations. For example, the Cameron Art Museum is getting a similar financial boost. The soccer fields will be reserved for members of the Cape Fear Soccer Association. Other soccer clubs can use the fields, but they have to make a reservation well in advance. Other than that the gates will remain locked keeping members of the public out.

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