Before we ever kicked a ball at our training facility we reached out to our would-be neighbors. We wanted to let them know our vision for the club and our commitment to being a good neighbor. We met with Pat, who lives in the house next to the field and whose family owned the field. He’s let us fill up our “Cincy SC Cool Zone” from his spigot and borrow his tractor to cut the grass. We spoke to Mary, who lives at the end of the road beside the church, and she even chased away some teenagers trying to break into our shed. We talked to the Kinneys, who live at the end of Jefferson St. behind the gated entrance. They’re ardent soccer supporters who have wanted to buy our field for years. We even helped broker the deal for Pat’s family to sell it to the Kinneys last year so they could keep it greenspace and we could keep it our soccer utopia.
And we met with the management of St. John Fisher Church to discuss the use of their parking lot. Our training times were designed to minimize interference, we added their lot to our insurance, and we made periodic donations to the church. They agreed to let our coaches and families use their parking lot on weeknights.
We kept in frequent communication to make sure there were no issues. Our families ensured no trash was ever left behind and adjusted their traffic pattern when requested. Our families knew that we were guests using their parking lot and needed to behave as such.
In December, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati sent us a letter stating that Cincinnati Soccer Club members and guests would no longer be allowed to use the St. John Fisher Church parking lot.
We quickly met with the Jenifer, the business manager at St. John Fisher Church, to better understand their reasons. She said it wasn’t anything we did wrong, but had to do with a few things: wanting to have a quiet space for their new prayer garden, mitigating risk caused by the increased traffic from our coaches and families, and occasional issues with traffic flow and parking spaces used.
We put together our best pitch to try to renew the agreement, including paying for and installing signs that would direct traffic flow and designate authorized spaces and times. We also offered what we felt was a substantial monthly donation. Unfortunately, they wished us the best of luck, but they just aren’t interested in letting us use their parking lot anymore.
Our temporary parking option will be to enter the complex from Jefferson St. and park on the grass on the Church St. side of our field. We’re also looking into better long term solutions.
Although we’re disappointed that we couldn’t reach an agreement to continue using their parking lot, we sincerely appreciate having a great parking option over the past 18 months as we built Cincy SC from the ground up. We request that our families honor the church’s request and we encourage everyone to be a good neighbor to the church and all our other Newtown neighbors.