Rush Wisconsin West Soccer Club will continue running Fields for Kids as the primary user after La Crosse Common Council approved a long-term use agreement on Thursday night.
The soccer fields located at 2500 Hauser Street are owned by the City of La Crosse, but under the new use agreement, the city will take a step back giving Rush Wisconsin West more autonomy.
"It's really the end result of a lot of hard work and negotiation between the city negotiating committee and Rush Wisconsin West," said Chris Walters, Vice President of Rush Wisconsin West.
"It was a long road, but we got it done," said Jared Flick, Recreation Specialist with the La Crosse Parks and Recreation Department. "Everybody is in a good place."
Council members voted unanimously to approve the agreement, making the non-profit soccer club primary user of Fields for Kids for the next 10 to 15 years.
"Fields for Kids has been the home for soccer in the Coulee Region since it started in 1997," Walters said. "We're happy to call that home for us for the foreseeable future."
It is a chance for Rush Wisconsin West to grow.
"Our goal is to really continue putting the Coulee Region on the soccer map and provide quality soccer opportunities for age groups from three years old and above," Walters said.
There are benefits for the City of La Crosse in the agreement as well.
"It takes a lot less man hours from the city now," Flick said. "The city is collecting rent on that, and anytime you do that, it is good for everybody else, too."
The 17 page agreement goes beyond just words to bring stability to the future of soccer in the Coulee Region for years to come.
Under the new use agreement, Rush Wisconsin West will get to make facility improvements, charge admission, and charge for parking.
Under the old agreement, the Board of Public Works found that the soccer club owed $49,000 for violations of lease terms, including $42,000 in money collected for parking at an event. That total was reduced to $7,000 which Rush Wisconsin West is to pay to the city within 10 days of the use agreement approval.