SOUTHPORT -- There was an unusual showdown today on a Brunswick County soccer field today. Facing off were young soccer players and senior citizens. It wasn't so much a battle as it was the place of a protest. The Smithfield Park near Southport is the site of a new senior center, but in order to build the senior center some of the soccer fields will be taken away which the players are not happy about. The kids and their parents protested as Congressman Mike McIntyre presented a $250,000 check to help build the new senior center. The center will take away three of the ten soccer fields there. Parents say those ten fields are already overcrowded with about 400 players. County commissioners say they will have temporary fields for players while the senior center is built and also try to get some money in next years budget to build additional soccer fields. Parent Kristi Leonard said, "While they talk about a plan for the youth, a plan doesn't equate to funds and until the funds are there nothing is going to happen for these kids." Brunswick County Commissioner May Moore said, "You just have to have some inconvenience sometimes to make progress." The new senior center will replace one in Southport which was built in the 1950s. Construction on the project is expected to begin this summer. The senior citizens say they have worked to get a new center for the area for years and some were not too happy to have the check presentation party crashed by the protestors.
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