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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Guest column: If A&M can renovate Kyle Field, why can’t it handle parking without disrupting youth soccer?

Kyle+Field
Tim Lai
Kyle Field

As a faculty member and U8 soccer coach, I was appalled to hear that Texas A&M University officials are negotiating with City of College Station officials to use Veterans Park and Athletic Complex (VPAC) as a parking lot for “Get to the Grid” in Fall 2015.  Local media have already reported on the position of the Brazos Valley Youth Soccer Association (BVYSA), which I and many other soccer moms and dads (and their kids) strongly endorse. It is obvious that the use of VPAC as a parking lot would displace several Saturday youth soccer games.  According to BVYSA, College Station officials told University officials that VPAC had low or no use on Saturdays — a claim entirely untrue. I urge Battalion staff to investigate how College Station officials portrayed the Saturday use of VPAC to University officials.
The use of VPAC for “Get to the Grid” is bad policy and bad politics. It’s bad policy because the University should resolve its parking issues for football game day within facilities that it controls, rather than shift the parking burden on others. In previous years, Post Oak Mall partly met the parking need. But Post Oak Mall is an entity that serves the retail and restaurant business. It is entirely unlike VPAC in every way: taxpayers support VPAC and they use VPAC every day, for walking, picnics, softball and soccer. I’m not sure why College Station officials seem so eager to sell out youth soccer for parking, but that’s another matter.
It’s also bad politics for the University, because if this deal is confirmed, then local youth soccer will be held hostage to the kickoff times that the SEC, TV and cable determine.  The University will be seen as a hapless and uninformed intermediary that somehow ignored its considerable negative impact on local youth recreational activities.  
I hope the idea to turn VPAC into a football game-day parking lot finds its appropriate resolution: University officials should abandon the VPAC parking option. They should walk away from a potentially damaging political saga and think more creatively about how to get fans to football game without seriously disrupting Saturday youth soccer games. If this University can renovate Kyle Field, then why can’t we figure out where to park cars without disrupting kids playing soccer games?
Christian Brannstrom, professor and director of Environmental Programs, College of Geosciences
 

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