City of Des Moines Looking to Expand Soccer Complex

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Twenty years ago, the City of Des Moines built a world-class soccer complex as interest in the sport started to grow in the United States. Now, the James Cownie Soccer Complex may need to expand.

Des Moines Parks and Recreation was given the green light on Monday to explore an expansion for the soccer park on the south side. The park currently has 12 full soccer fields, but officials want to expand that to 18 fields, including at least one more "championship level" field.

The parks department says without mountain views and sun-soaked beaches, Des Moines needs world-class facilities to draw in visitors. They say the Cownie Soccer Complex already provides $7 million in financial impact to the city every year from visitors, so now the question is whether an expansion will increase that spending.

"today we have those 12 fields and they were built in 1998, and as you can see, 20 years later soccer still continues to grow at a very popular rate. So the new standard is going to be at least 18 fields, and we want to be able to answer that question, can that pencil out here in Des Moines, can it have great economic impact, and can the city afford to add six more fields," said Ben Page of Des Moines Parks and Recreation.

Page expects to have a recommendation for the council in approximately one year.