New soccer stadium taking shape

March 17, 2009 4:34:47 PM PDT
The new soccer stadium is beginning to take shape along Chester's waterfront. The stadium is being built just south of the Commodore Barry Bridge.

In a city long plagued by blight there's a blueprint for change in Chester and the driving force behind it is soccer fans who have been waiting years to see a construction crew breaking ground on a professional soccer complex.

"Just the thought that we can see the progress going on behind us is incredible."

Tom Reletter is a member of the Sons of Ben, a soccer fan club that convinced investors the $115-million stadium will be worth every penny. The stadium itself hasn't been named yet and neither has the team but....

"The team has sold over 6-thousand season tickets and they haven't even advertised yet."

Soccer fans aren't the only ones excited about the project. In this tight economy so are the people who work here, especially those who live in Chester.

"I'm excited, pretty much excited because of the income it's going to bring to the neighborhood, jobs we might have coming. I'm just looking forward to it," said Rod Roberts, who is a laborer.

And so are developers, with restaurants, retail space and more planned for the 80 acres surrounding the complex investors like Delaware's Buccini Pollin Group consider Chester an untapped gold mine.

"Clearly it's ready for a renaissance and new investment attracts new residents and new commercial attractions to Chester," said Michael Hare, of BGP Developers.

If all goes planned the work will be completed by this time next year. The name of the team and its colors are expected to be announced in about a month and word has it that a professional women's team will also play at the new soccer complex.

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