Popular Asheville sports complex remains closed because of flood damage
Flood damage is still plaguing parts of the mountains.
The John B. Lewis Soccer Complex was covered by several feet of water following the storms. Though the waters have receded, the park remains closed awaiting cleanup and repairs.
Not an ideal situation as organizers were getting ready to host a The Asheville Lacrosse Classic.
“When you have a situation like this, you don't have weeks to prepare.We only had days," Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission executive director Demp Bradford said.
And in those same days, they also had to keep the person running the event from moving it to another city.
"We were like, 'no we want this event to stay,'" Bradford said.
So, Bradford said they got right to work.
"Commissioner Belcher, the superintendent of schools Dr. Tony Baldwin, you know everyone stepped up as a community and really came together to make this work," Bradford said.
Originally, the plan was to have 40 of the 100 teams play at the John B. Lewis fields.
Instead, they ended up having to find a way to fit nearly 5,000 people at the Buncombe County Sports Complex and neighboring Sand Hill-Venabel Elementary School.
"I never imagined that we would be looking to find ways to move the events off of turf fields," Bradford said.
He said, normally during bad weather situations, people move games from grass fields to turf fields.
But even though they were able to host a successful tournament, their problems aren’t over.
The John B. Lewis Soccer Complex is an extremely popular location, with people using it for pickup games, rec leagues and hanging out at the playground.
"We have our granddaughter from Maryland, and, every time she comes, we go to this playground,” Asheville resident Inge Robert said. “Today, we can’t."
That’s because there are fences down and trees on the playground equipment.
"I don’t know how long it’s going to be until they fix it, but we're waiting," Robert said.
"The community came together and did what they could to volunteer and do some of the preliminary cleanup, and, now, we have to leave the rest up to the professionals," Bradford said.
Bradford said the complex will be closed until the city can better assess the situation and fix the damage.