Soccer association, civic center hash out plan for spring

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The Mineola Soccer Association (MSA) will have a chance to play its spring season on the fields at the Mineola Civic Center.

The center’s board offered the MSA a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in a joint meeting Tuesday, Nov. 5. The groups pledged to hold another meeting soon after the first of the year to ratify the agreement.

The spring season had been called into question when the center’s board asked the MSA to look for other options based on not living up to all conditions in the fall MOU.

As center Director Nancy Murphy said, the use of the civic center fields has never been a permanent solution, and the new MOU (which was slightly modified from the one from the fall season) includes providing an outlined plan to actively secure a permanent location.

Two key contingencies of the MOU include providing liability insurance coverage and seeking status as a non-profit organization.

MSA President Tammy Smith said the coverage has been secured, and the group is working with an accountant to obtain status as a 501(c)3.

That status will help MSA seek grants from the local Meredith Foundation and other grants, civic center board members noted.

Mayor Kevin White, also a center board member, said Texas Parks and Wildlife grants could help with establishing new fields.

Center Board President Carlist Brinkley said the board understands that seeking 501(c)3 status is a process that takes time.

Brinkley said he called the joint meeting “because I hate to let anything fester for a long period of time.” He asked the two groups to seek a resolution that benefits everyone, “what’s best for our children and our community.”

The matter had become somewhat contentious as a petition was begun requesting that the MSA be allowed to continue using the fields.

The meeting will help establish a level of communication from the MSA president to the MSA board and its members, Brinkley said.

Among the items that have drawn attention has been trash left on the fields after games and participants not keeping a respectable distance from the RVers who stay at the center grounds.

“Treat the RV spaces like it’s their home,“ Murphy said.

The issue with trash improved during the fall season after the association was notified, after it was about the worst it has been last spring, Murphy said.

The center board suggested the soccer board designate one member in charge each game day and have a check list, such as making sure trash is picked up.

“We are here to help you, not hold you back,” Murphy said. “We want to see y’all flourish.”

Among alternatives the association is considering for future use, the school district is working on a possible solution that Smith said she expects to learn about at the November school board meeting.

The city has also suggested the possibility of developing fields at the Mineola Nature Preserve.

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