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Bethlehem Soccer Club to start fundraising soon

Group leaders say indoor facility would benefit whole community

The Bethlehem Soccer Club is planning to start raising capital in a few months' time for its proposed indoor facility at the Soccerplex on Wemple Road.

Building an indoor field has long been a goal of the privately-run club, which pays a premium for some of its teams to use indoor facilities elsewhere in the area. The project is pegged at $3 million, and the club has been working with a consultant for the past few months to develop a business plan for the project and a marketing plan for the fundraising campaign.

All sources of money are on the table, including naming rights and advertising space. Community generosity will be counted on for at least some of the funding, said club President Mark Sweeney.

Our goal is to raise enough money throughout the community...that we have a moderate debt load, he said. "If we don't raise enough capital to do this project, we will resize it. We don't want to jam a round peg into a square hole."

The club first brought its plans to the Town of Bethlehem a year ago, and on Thursday, Feb. 17, presented an updated version to the Development Planning Committee that moved the location of the 87,500-square-foot building to another corner of the site, closest to the corner created by Wemple and the Thruway.

That would better allow for an expansion to the parking area. There are 180 spaces at the Soccerplex now, and the proposal would expand that to 265 and provide a better traffic flow pattern for drop offs.

"Everybody's congregated in our main parking area," Sweeney said. "This way everybody can com in, drop off and go find a parking spot."

Traffic levels and parking plans are likely to see scrutiny from town planners. On busy Saturdays, traffic can snarl on Wemple Road as vehicles come and go from the facility.

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