Editorial: Knightdale’s looking ahead aggressively

July 6, 2013 

If, like us, you were surprised to learn recently of Knightdale’s desire to create a large soccer complex, you might consider how such ideas can come when one least expects it.

The world’s richest people get that way by filling an unmet need or by being aggressive when others are passive. Knightdale’s plan for a soccer complex follows that formula.

The town is hoping to make use of some funding from the county to build a complex that could draw visitors to the region from hundreds of miles away.

Establishing a complex of that kind could help keep tourism dollars in Wake County (and bring them to eastern Wake County) instead of shipping them to places like Wilson and Rocky Mount.

That’s what regional soccer officials say happens when large tournaments come to Wake County.

Despite the presence of the WakeMed Soccer Complex in Cary, there aren’t enough fields to host the largest regional tournaments in Wake County without sending some teams to play at facilities in Wilson and Rocky Mount.

Building a complex here would fill an unmet need in that regard. It would also help fledgling soccer programs in this region have room to grow and give them top-notch facilities in which to play, potentially increasing interest in the sport here as well.

The move also comes at an interesting time because most local governments are not spending money on programs that aren’t seen as high-priority needs.

When others are playing their financial cards close to the vest, Knightdale has been spending money on infrastructure designed to make the town more a community and more of a destination.

The town, supported by bond-voters, has started work on a park in the middle of town that has already drawn the interest of real estate developers and the YMCA, which is considering plans to build a facility next to the park.

Couple that effort with a proposed soccer park, and Knightdale is advancing its goals while others stand still. That’s a strategy that worked well for many an industrialist (think the Carnegies, the DuPonts and the Vanderbilts.)

Of course, Knightdale’s not doing these things to enrich the town’s coffers, but indirectly that will be the result if more people move to Knightdale and more visitors stop in on weekends to play in soccer tournaments.

The town has said, in essence, the soccer park is a no-go without funding from the food and hotel tax, so Knightdale officials are being careful not to overextend their own finances.

But it’s an aggressive act at a time when not too many others are willing to get in the game.

That’s likely to pay dividends down the road.

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