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Save the Knollwood Soccer Fields


Letter from Clair Roach regarding “Knollwood Soccer Fields”
Dear Friends,
It’s been many weeks since I sent out the email about the for-sale sign next to the Knollwood Soccer Fields. Quite a bit has happened since I wrote that email and I know a lot of people are curious for an update because someone is always asking for one when I’m at Martin’s, the library, church, one of the kids’ schools, etc… One thing that’s become abundantly clear is that these fields mean a lot to a lot of people. They’re not just fields. They represent what’s precious to us in our community.
I could go on and on about what a tragedy it would be if our green space was covered in asphalt. Or, our kids’ play space was replaced by villas. Or, that losing convenient neighborhood fields might mean no family dinners on practice night because families are driving kids twenty-five minutes away for practice instead of five. Or, that in the near future there will be paths allowing families to safely bike to this community space.As one mom put it to me, which left me laughing out loud, “Adults in this town have plenty of 18-hole spaces for play. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let what little play space kids in this community have go by the wayside. Someone’s got to advocate forthem.” I couldn’t have said it better.
So, here’s the scoop. Michiana Soccer Association (MSA) recently stepped up to the plate and put in an offer to save these fields. The Jennings family accepted their offer of $180,000 and has given them until December 14th to raise the funds. If MSA isn’t able to raise the $180,000 by Dec. 14th, the property goes back on the market. And, it’s my understanding that there’s still significant interest by a couple of developers.The challenge is upon us. It’s now up to this community to take a stand and not let this treasured resource slip through our fingers. Make no mistake, once that land is developed, there will be no going back. But, if we can save it, that not only means soccer or kite flying, but potentially a playground or more.
This effort is entirely grass roots. It’s a challenge, but I’m convinced it can be done.There was a meeting around my kitchen table last week to design the strategy. To date we’ve raised over $55,000. We will be approaching team sponsors and longtime supporters for some large donations – hopefully a matching grant will come of it. There are also several people (you know who you are, so thank you!!!) who will approach businesses, neighborhood associations, and others in the region who value this space.But, a crucial part of this effort is going to be accomplished by the support of individuals and families like you and me. If we can find 100 people (or teams of people) to donate $1,000 by December 14, we can do this. Please start to think about whether or not you can be a part of that group of 100.
I’m fully aware that writing a check for a thousand dollars, or even hundreds, isn’t an easy decision. I wrote the Roach family’s thousand dollar check out to MSA before I sat down to write this email. Brandon and I talked for a good long time about it. We’re thinking of it as an investment in our kids and our community. (By the way, MSA is a 501(c)3, so any donation is tax-deductible. And, if they’re not successful in securing the fields, money directed towards this effort can be returned.) If $1,000 is too large an amount to write for you, start thinking about who you could team up with to reach it. Friends? Neighbors? Your kids’ soccer/baseball/hockey team?
So, there you have it. We’ve managed to keep the fields safe for the next few weeks, but our real challenge is to keep them safe for the future. Please forward this email to everyone you did last time (and a few more!). Talk about the issue to neighbors and friends. And, start thinking about if and how much you can do to help. Keep your eyes and ears out for the “SAVE our FIELDS where we RUN and PLAY!” campaign to begin!!
Clare Roach