Jennifer Buckingham has a son and a daughter who both play soccer at the Hope Sports Complex in south Lansing. "This is great, this is like state-of-the-art, especially for around here," Buckingham said.
The people renting the property want to keep growing, they have presented ideas to expand, like building a hotel or dormitory on site and indoor sports domes. "Soccer is really growing around Lansing," Buckingham said. "The youth are really looking for a lot of competition around, it would be a good thing for the sport and for the city."
But the owners of the complex have told the city they need something from it - a 20-year extension to their current five-year lease. Mayor Virg Bernero says he's all for it. "They saw value in this land, they saw opportunity in this land, and this is what's happening, 200,000 visits a year, all sorts of sports events, it's the Hope Sports Complex, and it can be even bigger, even better," the mayor said. He says the sports complex is a great use of the land it is on, which used to be a landfill.
"They're hosting tournaments for people all over the region, and all over the country. They are bringing top notch athletes from all over to South Lansing," Bernero said. Some have said they are worried the owners don't have a specific plan to show the city, but Bernero says extending the lease is the first step.
"In order to get investors to invest in the property, they need to show ownership, ownership for longer than 5 years, so I think a 20-year is very reasonable, a 20-year extension," Bernero said.
The Lansing City Council decided Monday it will discuss the lease agreement at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting.