Huntsman Recreation Complex to include fields and more

PORT NECHES — Hundreds of sports playing children will now have permanent fields thanks to a lease of land between Huntsman Corporation and the city of Groves.

Jon Huntsman Sr., founder of Huntsman Corporation, was on hand to discuss land deal, its meaning to the community and for the unveiling of the name — Huntsman Recreation Complex.

Chad Anderson, site director at Huntsman Port Neches Operations, left, and Groves City Manager D. Sosa, right, unveil the name of the community recreation complex in Groves as Ron Gerrard, with Huntsman, looks on. Mary Meaux/The News

Chad Anderson, site director at Huntsman Port Neches Operations, left, and Groves City Manager D. Sosa, right, unveil the name of the community recreation complex in Groves as Ron Gerrard, with Huntsman, looks on.
Mary Meaux/The News

Jon Huntsman Sr., founder of Huntsman Corporation, speaks about leasing 32-acrs of land to the city of Groves for a recreation complex during an event at the Huntsman administration building in Port Neches on Friday. Mary Meaux/The News

Jon Huntsman Sr., founder of Huntsman Corporation, speaks about leasing 32-acrs of land to the city of Groves for a recreation complex during an event at the Huntsman administration building in Port Neches on Friday.
Mary Meaux/The News

Chad Anderson, site director for Huntsman Port Neches Operations, explained that there has been a partnership between Huntsman and the Gulf Coast Youth Soccer Club has existed since the 1992 donation of about 25 acres of land at Hogaboom Road and Twin City Highway. Then, on Friday, came the announcement of the leasing of 32-acres of land to Groves.

“Huntsman is pleased to partner with the city of Groves in this exciting project and we look forward to enhancing recreational opportunities in the Golden Triangle communities where our associates and contractors live, work and play,” Anderson said.

Once developed, the complex will contain four baseball/softball fields, four tennis courts, three youth football fields, a children’s play area and a quarter-mile walking track in addition to a concession stand and restrooms.

The new availability of playing fields for Port Neches-Groves Youth Football Association is exciting news to members of the organization.

Madison White, secretary of PNGYFA, has a son playing in the league. Currently there are three flag football teams, three pee wee teams, three junior teams and three senior teams and somewhere between 250 to 275 children participating.

The teams do not have a home field and have played on the Port Neches-Groves High School band practice field in Port Neches.

“This is very thoughtful and generous, to give us a permanent home,” White said.

Rene Villarreal, with PNGYFA, has had several of his boys play in the league and his youngest on is currently on a team.

“We are really blessed to be part of this,” Villarreal said.

The PNGYFA will develop the fields for their use and is setting sights on an August 2017 date for opening.

Groves Mayor Brad Bailey was unable to attend the ceremony due to family reasons — his son is a member of the Baylor Men’s Golf Team and he is with his son at an out-of-town tournament. City Manager D. Sosa spoke in place of the mayor reading Bailey’s prepared statement.

“I like to look at the big picture and in the big picture are my reasons for wanting all of these sports fields for football, softball, baseball and other organized and open sports opportunities,” Sosa read. “It strengthens our families and communities. These fields and the boys and girls that eventually play on them will have great advantages. They will have better overall health, higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems and better overall socialization in the community.”

The youth will learn important like skills through the discipline of training, learn team work, follow leadership and instruction of coaches, learning to win with class – all of which will provide lifelong skills, he added.

The recreation complex will be adjacent to the soccer fields that are also undergoing improvements. Robert Parr, technical director of the GCYSC, said they are in the process of adding new fields for high school age and younger, a new parking lot to accommodate up to 400 vehicles, lighting, a kick-back wall and drainage improvements.

In addition, the city of Groves will provide water and sewer services to the fields as well as working to add a right turning lane form Hogaboom to Twin City Highway.

E-mail: mary.meaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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