HOLLIDAYSBURG - The soccer fields next to Valley View Home will be included in a description of the Blair County nursing home property when advertised for sale.
Commissioners said Tuesday that they didn't want to separate the fields from the nursing home grounds because the division will create access, parking and easement issues.
It means potential buyers will submit a single bid for the home and an estimated 42 acres, including 8 to 9 acres leased to the Altoona division of the American Youth Soccer Organization.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
County commissioners plan to include the ground leased to the American Youth Soccer Organization, Region 452, for fields and related facilities as part of a potential sale of Valley View Home.
"Shame on them if they're going to pull the plug on an organization and a program that's been successful for more than 20 years," former AYSO commissioner and county parks director Judy Roberts said Tuesday.
Roberts was the AYSO representative who sought the county's cooperation in 1989 to create the soccer fields and successfully fought Altoona City Council whose members objected to soccer fields on land zoned for limited industrial use. She worked primarily with then-Commissioner William C. Stouffer, who celebrated a court ruling in favor of the county that allowed soccer fields to be built.
"Bill Stouffer would be rolling over in his grave to see them consider this," Roberts said.
Commissioners agreed on the property description when considering boundary lines to put in an offering memorandum that a Chicago real estate investment firm, Marcus & Millichap, will begin distributing to potential buyers, showing the home for sale at a minimum price of $11.25 million.
Valley View will be more attractive to potential buyers if it includes the soccer grounds because that's an area available for expansion which could mean more health services and more jobs, Commissioners Chairman Terry Tomassetti said.
"Part of the value of that property is the nearby vacant land," Commissioner Diane Meling said.
She and Commissioner Ted Beam Jr. also pointed to access and parking issues that surface if the home is sold without the soccer fields. That would create an issue for AYSO, Beam said, because the home's grounds include the parking area used by AYSO.
AYSO Regional Commissioner Faber Moyer said the commissioners are leaving his organization in a quandary.
"We have seven fields there, and in the fall, we had 457 kids from ages 4 to 17 playing at that site," Moyer said. "I'm very concerned about what we're going to do with 457 kids."
Before the soccer fields were built on Valley View grounds, the parents stored and transported equipment from field to field, Roberts said. Thousands of dollars and volunteer labor went into turning the site into playable fields and into building the storage sheds and restrooms there.
"I don't understand why they want to open this can of worms," Roberts said. "This isn't a program with just a couple of kids kicking a ball around. Shame on them for not working with their constituents."
Meling said the county's current one-year contract with AYSO is valid through June, and it includes clauses relative to ending the lease arrangement, with notice. The AYSO currently pays $2,200 annually to lease the county's grounds.
Commissioners also expect, before Christmas, to make some additional decisions that will be factored into a request for proposals that Marcus & Millichap is expected to circulate in January to potential buyers.
Once potential buyers are identified through a bidding process scheduled to end Feb. 1, negotiations will begin on a possible sales agreement.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.