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Scheels Soccer Complex video system irks 2 OP council members

There's a request to rescind the 10-2 vote
OP Scheels Soccer letter.jpg
Posted at 10:10 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 23:10:07-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Two Overland Park City Council members want more answers about a $350,000 project in which a new video broadcast system will be installed at the Scheels Soccer Complex. The money for the project comes from federal CARES Act funding.

The Overland Park City Council voted, 10-2, to approve the funding Monday night.

The pay-per-view video broadcasting system will allow games at the complex to be viewed remotely, according to the project background. People can purchase access to watch the games if they don't feel comfortable physically attending games.

Council members Scott Hamblin and Dr. Faris Farassati told 41 Action News they do not support this project. Hamblin sent a letter to Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach, asking that the vote to approve the funding be rescinded.

"There's a lot of things, that, that, that this fund is eligible for," Hamblin said. "There's a lot of things we could help out in the community."

Hamblin and Farassati said the project does not align with the spirit or definition of the CARES Act. They told 41 Action News several residents have questioned why the project was approved.

"These are real people out there expressing frustration with something that is a token of, essentially, government -- local government -- not paying attention to the realities on the ground," Farassati said.

Council member Chris Newlin told 41 Action News the money was designed to go toward an information and technology improvement for the city. Newlin said he sees the project as a way to boost the city's economy.

"Economic recovery doesn't happen overnight," Newlin said. "It happens over years. So this is going to allow us to highlight the Scheels, nationally recognized Scheels Soccer Complex that everyone loves. We're going to be able to mark it is well to national organizations to come here. That's going to boost the business around the center."

Newlin told 41 Action News he is also answering questions from residents about this project. He says if the city does not use this money, they will lose the money.

"Our job is to enhance our community, and that's that's what I was put up on that day is to do, and I see this as enhancing our community," said Newlin.

The city council's next meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 2, at City Hall, 8500 Santa Fe Drive.