Mini-pitch coming to Lockhart


By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

Not only did the Lockhart City Council unanimously approve a $12,000 donation to turning an outdoor basketball court into a soccer mini-pitch at the CPL Jason K. LaFleur Soccer Complex, but the decision was stamped with a rousing applause from the audience at last week’s meeting on the third floor of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library Annex.

The $100,000 project will begin its conversion in early March and is expected to be completed three to four weeks. It will be a joint project between the city, Lockhart ISD, along with grant funding from Soccer Assist of Austin, St. David’s Foundation, 4ATX Foundation, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation (USSF).

LISD Superintendent Mark Estrada, speaking as a citizen and as a youth soccer coach, also brought along a pair of elementary students to address the council.

There are similar seven mini-pitches in Central Texas, including Bastrop, Austin, Taylor, and Uvalde. The USSF has installed more than 600 nationally.

City Manager Steve Lewis said a mini-pitch was a “small, customized hardcourt suited for individual soccer skill work and pickup games.”

Estrada noted there were more than 700 kids currently in the Lockhart Youth Soccer program.

“It’s a little smaller than a standard basketball court,” Estrada said. “It develops skills, touch, passing, dribbling; all the things you need to develop to become a competitive soccer player.”

Mayor Lew White added, “It looks like soccer is alive and well in Lockhart.”

The location of the LaFleur Soccer Complex is near Lockhart Junior High and Bluebonnet Elementary School. The city said the area is currently under-utilized, and that one of the basketball courts would remain. The hope is to eventually install basketball courts at Maple Park across the street.

“Everyone agrees it’s an ideal site to build something like this,” Estrada said.

The City of Lockhart will maintain the mini-pitch.

Estrada brought with him Navarro Elementary fourth grader Annemarie Estrada and Bluebonnet Elementary fifth grader Jaxon Parra

“Have you ever scored a goal or made a save?” asked Annemarie Estrada. “Well, let me tell you. I have. It’s the best feeling ever.

“This is super important. This is an investment in our health, happiness, and our future. It’ll be a place where families can come together, cheer for their kids, and have a great time.”

Parra added, “Soccer is more than just a game for me. It’s my passion. I need a place to practice. I could go after school or on the weekends. It’s about having a space dedicated to individual development. You’ll be helping kids like me who dream of getting better. Let’s create a space where kids like me can work hard and improve our skills and chase our dreams.”

Mini-pitches are a part of the USSF’s “Safe Places to Play” initiative. Soccer Assist has obtained funding from St. David’s Foundation and other sources for $51,000. Austin FC has contributed $25,000 through its charitable foundation, 4ATX. The remaining $24,000 would be split by the city and LISD. 

The size of the soccer mini-pitch is approximately 90 feet by 50 feet, and it will have an all-weather surface and lighting, allowing for play during all weather conditions and during the evenings.

In other business:

Assistant City Manager Joseph Resendez and Fire Chief Randy Jenkins provided updates regarding the status of Fire Station No. 1 (intersection of Church and Market streets).

Resendez said an Asbestos Inspection Report from Dec. 13, 2023, found there were amounts of asbestos on the first and second floors. The most significant work will be sheetrock removal on the second floor.

Jenkins said the department will have to relocate to Fire Station No. 2 for a 5- or 6-month time frame when renovation begins. There will be upgrade included.

Fire Station No. 1 was built in 1912 with additions in 1950. Since it is within the Lockhart Historical District, the Lockhart Historical Preservation Commission will review any proposed changes to the exterior of the building, as well as any interior work that impacts load-bearing walls.

A petition for the release of 224.69 acres of land from the City’s Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) by Chisholm Hill LP was denied, 5-0, by the City Council. Mayor White cited “unconstitutional authority” and that the City “does not consent to a reduction of its ETJ.”

An Animal Shelter Advisory Board will have been nominated prior to the Jan. 16 City Council meeting. It will meet at least three times annually with its purpose to assist the city in its development of its animal shelter’s mission and policies.

Jerry Haug was nominated by Councilmember John Lairsen to the Historical Preservation Commission for a term to expire in November 2026. He was approved 5-0.

The City offers free Christmas tree recycling. Call the Public Works Department at 512-398-6452 and be sure the trees are free of ornaments, lights, tinsel, nails, screws, or tree bases before placing curbside.

City offices will be closed on Monday, Jan. 15, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Trash collections will proceed as scheduled.


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