Immokalee community asks for improvement of its soccer field

Reporter: Rodaris Richardson
Published: Updated:

A community that feels forgotten by the people who are meant to represent them says that their kids need a better place to play their favorite sport.

Lots of kids in Immokalee get their kicks out of playing soccer, but what happens when the lights get turned off?

“It was like 8:59 when I saw the lights go off in field number three. I looked at my watch. Is it 8:59? Why are these lights going off?” said Manny Touron, executive director of Immokalee the Soccer Pit.

Touron said that last Friday, what started as a day of fun quickly turned after hundreds were left in the dark.

As for the lights, they never came back on that night.

Collier County Parks & Recreation Division Director Olema Edwards sent a statement and apologized for the mistake.

“Lights will be until 10 o’clock from now on,” Edwards said.

But this has once again sparked the conversation about creating more fields.

“The fields in Immokalee, we just don’t have enough,” Touron said.

And by enough, he means…

“We only have three available multipurpose fields, and those fields actually have to be closed down for maintenance at certain times of the year, so what happens? Then we have nowhere to go,” he said.

He said a few years ago, there were hopes of making this possible, but he said promises were made and were broken.

But this time around, he hopes for a different turnout.

“Our kids have nowhere else to go. We want our kids to stay doing good things. Make the fields so they can be there,” he said.

The Collier County Parks & Recreation Advisory Board fielded questions from parents Wednesday night about improving the fields.

The division director said in a statement that moving forward, they are committed to implementing measures that ensure such mistakes, like the lights being turned off, are minimized.

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