Dutton scores new nets

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Soccer just go a little easier, and a lot more fun, at the Dutton Sports Athletic Complex thanks to three recently installed background nets.

Giri BP and Papa John’s Pizza, owned by Deepak Giri, funded the $2,500 project, which will be a big help for groups like the West Liberty Soccer Club.

“We’ve been talking about doing this for a couple years now, so I told the coach lets go ahead and do it,” says Deepak Giri.

The issue, three of the goal posts at Dutton Park have no nets and are right in front of a large ditch full of tall grass. Not good news for soccer players.

“The balls would get lost in the ditch,” said Mike Gun. “So one, we would lose the ball. Two, the kids don’t practice much if they have to chase the ball in the ditch.”

Mike Gunn, who is the coach of the West Liberty High School soccer team, also leads the West Liberty Soccer Club.

Right now there are more than 115 participants in the club, grades 3-8. They have used Dutton Park as their main hub since the park opened 10 years ago.

It’s a valuable asset to the club, and to community members that come by to play soccer in their free time. Hopefully the new nets make life a little easier.

“A lot of the shots wouldn’t go in the goal, so the kids really don’t like to practice much if they have to chase the ball,” added Coach Gunn. “It encourages kids to come here and practice”

Coach Gunn, his sons and Rod Purdue installed the nets, while holes were dug and prepped by Morrison Construction.

They’re able to stop most balls shot in their direction, whether the ball travels through the empty goal posts or right by them.

It’s just another small step forward for Dutton Park, which not only boasts several soccer fields, but four softball diamonds, two tennis courts and a skate park.

Most recently six light poles were installed at one of the diamonds for $112,500 thanks to the combination of a $75,000 grant, the Ryan Trust, fundraising and the city.

The first lights to make it out to Dutton Park, the hope is that it will encourage more tournament play, since tournaments can now run past the sun going down.

Dutton Park was originally built to accommodate an increased need for softball diamonds due to the many baseball and softball leagues in West Liberty.

However, it has also played a big role for the West Liberty Soccer Club. Before, more than 150 kids were attempting to use available area at Wapsie Park.

These recent additions, such as donations from Giri BP, prove that the community is willing to step up when the money isn’t always there.
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