A community effort, under the guidance of Atlantic Sports Group president Cheryl Stokes along with M.J. Ball, has resulted in a new multi-purpose indoor sports facility with a FieldTurf surface on the Beal College campus in Bangor.
The facility, located in a renovated warehouse, will open on Jan. 10.
“Since it is an independent, non-profit community effort, it will be open to everybody,” said Stokes, whose Atlantic Sports Group brought the National Premier Soccer League’s Maine Sting and Women’s Premier Soccer League Maine Tide to Bangor last summer.
They played their home games at Boucher Field on the Husson College campus in Bangor and they will return this summer.
Stokes has partnered up with Ball and his multi-team Black Bear United soccer program on the project. Ball is the director of programming for Black Bear United.
“The miracle is that we didn’t start until Nov. 7. It has taken just six weeks. Everybody has helped out,” said Stokes. “We’ve received around 550 volunteer hours from all different parts of the community.”
That included labor, materials and donations, she said.
“We basically gutted the warehouse and started all over. There will be two 60-by-80 foot fields, new bathrooms, a new heating system, a new electrical system, offices and a small training room,” said Stokes.
Stokes said the project costs $300,000 and a grant secured by Black Bear United from the United States Soccer Foundation covered the FieldTurf at a price of “$70,000-$80,000.”
She said the generosity of the community has covered all but $25,000 of the remaining $300,000.
“This is pretty exciting,” said Stokes. “I’ve always been adamant about wanting to be part of the community; having our teams [Tide and Sting] be part of the community and doing whatever we can to help soccer grow here. This will go a long way to helping the development of soccer in the area.”
She said they signed a 10-year lease with Beal College.
Stokes added that they have secured land behind the Sports Arena in Hermon and will soon begin fund-raising for a four-field outdoor soccer facility.
“We will start by building one field. It will cost approximately $250,000 and we hope to have it done by the fall,” said Stokes.
There are 14 teams in the Black Bear United program that will become affiliated with the Atlantic Sports Group and the Tide and Sting.
They will be eligible to compete in the Youth Premier Soccer League which Stokes said will be a level above their current travel team opponents.
Several other youth teams are affiliated with WPSL and NPSL franchises.
Anyone interested in contributing in any way can contact Stokes at 249-9933.