ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Multiple sports fields will soon be developed near the Abilene Zoo and Grover Nelson Park, offering young athletes the chance to compete locally. 

Thursday, Abilene City Council voted in favor of expanding the Abilene Youth Sports Authority (AYSA) facility. It would allow the group to develop new fields on the grounds of the park, with a 40-year lease for $1.00 per year. 

“We’re thankful, for one, they see the vision of what youth sports can become and give our kids here to play locally,” said Brandon Osborne, Executive Director for AYSA. “But also provides us the opportunity to get teams from all over the State of Texas to come in and experience Abilene. So its a great effort for Abilene.”

Map of plans for AYSA sports fields (Via Abilene City Council and Abilene Youth Sports Authority)

Osborne told KTAB/KRBC the fields would potentially host soccer, football, lacrosse, and even rugby games. This, helping bring in more young athletes and their families for weekend tournaments. 

“For every youth sports tournament that brings visitors from out of town, the visitor will spend about $200 per athlete per day,” said Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Vice President, Robert Lopez.  

Lopez said not only could the expansion generate great revenue for the Abilene economy, but it is expected to also save money with our local teams, especially travel costs.   

“It’s very hard to find 10 fields all in one location,” Lopez explained. “So, this is hugely beneficial for, not just visitors and people who want to host tournaments, but also locally as well.”

Osborne said the total funds for this project will require AYSA to raise $10 million, with the city then contributing up to $5 million to establish the fields near Grover Nelson Park.