Get ready for an increase in North Greenwich Road’s KQ. That’s Kicker Quotient, the number of youth soccer players wearing bright jerseys and flip-flops and hanging out in hotels and restaurants between games of tournaments.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department will soon begin construction on a project that expands and improves the 13-field Stryker Soccer Complex north of K-96 and Greenwich. Closed for all of this year, the complex is expected to open in 2019 with artificial-turf fields and an indoor facility.
Once the 17-year-old facility is refurbished, it’s supposed to surpass anything like it in Kansas, plus Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Stryker’s Wichita location makes it a desirable spot for youth tournaments that will attract teams from around the Midwest.
Turf fields and new lighting will double the number of games that can played in a day, Parks director Troy Houtman said.
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The $22 million project will be funded by STAR bonds, which use sales taxes generated by a tourism area to pay for the bonds. A Wichita State University study says Stryker should bring in $1.4 million to $2.1 million in sales and hotel taxes.
Though construction will displace Wichita’s professional team, FC Wichita, for its National Premier Soccer League season, the renovations are a good long-term investment for the club that has a solid fan following. The stadium field will be artificial turf and seat about 2,500 spectators. It seats less than 1,000 now. The club hasn’t announced a home field for 2018.
Already a top spot in Kansas for soccer, Stryker’s renovations will bring more business to an already-busy Greenwich corridor. Restaurants and hotels will be ready for kickoff.