Abraham Santillan has heard many people say that Marble Falls needs one. He knows some have left the city for Cedar Park because it has one.
With a young daughter, Santillan wants one, too.
A sports complex in Marble Falls has come up before but never gained traction.
Santillan believes that must change.
“I know two or three people who have moved out because they’re tired of having to drive to Cedar Park or Round Rock three or four times a week so their kids can practice or have games,” he said. “I know, in three or four years, when my daughter tells me she wants to play soccer, I don’t want to have to drive to Cedar Park or even Lago Vista after work because they have great fields and facilities. I already drive enough.”
Santillan is now focused on getting a sports complex built in Marble Falls. The first step came during the Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Commission meeting February 3. Prior to that, Santillan would occasionally stop by the Parks and Recreation Department office to check with Recreation Coordinator Monique Breaux on where the city was on a sports complex.
Breaux invited him to the February 3 meeting. He thought he was there just to observe. Just before the meeting started, Breaux told him he was going to speak.
After listening to organizers from several youth sports leagues and an adult soccer league give their updates, it was Santillan’s turn.
“I sat there patiently and listened to them, but it was all Band-Aids what they were asking for,” he said.
Santillan noted that the adult soccer league has 30 teams that must share one field, and the youth sports facilities are not on the same level as those in other communities.
“I got up there and spoke from the heart,” he said. “I said I was really impressed with what the city has done, but if the demographics you’re trying to attract are younger people with families, then you need a sports complex.”
Instead of leaving it at that, Santillan picked up the ball and ran.
He created a Facebook group in support of a sports complex.
“In less than a week of creating the group, we have about 650 members already,” he said. “I would say 90 to 95 percent who have come on are in favor of it.”
Santillan is aware of the challenges, including funding and finding a location. Those are questions that need to be answered.
The key is getting the community behind it. He’s already spoken with members of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation and reached out to city of Marble Falls officials. Right now, he’s getting the word out and looking for six to eight people to team up with.
“I’m determined,” Santillan said. “I need support. I need pillars of the community to get behind this. I’m going to continue to need help.”
If the community wants it, he added, then city leaders should listen.
Currently, the Facebook group is the best way to keep up with the young movement. Santillan said people can comment through the group page or send him a Facebook message if they have questions, ideas, or want to help. Since he works, Santillan said it might be in the evening before he can respond to messages and comments.
“People shouldn’t have to drive to Cedar Park, or who knows where, so their kids can play sports,” he said. “This is a great place to live, and I think a sports complex will make it even better for families.”