The Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Commission gave the green light to a new youth soccer program.

The Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Commission gave the green light to a new youth soccer program.

During the commission’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon, Pine Bluff resident Coleman Enright said that soccer would improve the lives of young people in Pine Bluff.

“I came to speak to you today to see about introducing soccer to Pine Bluff,” Enright said. “Soccer is one of the fastest-growing activities in the country. White Hall and Watson Chapel have it and Pine Bluff is not on board. We have the facilities and what we need to get started.”

Enright said that he had spoken to Laura Hildreth, director of the Chester Hynes and Merrill community centers, about creating a youth soccer program and that she had been receptive to the idea.

Enright said that he hoped to be able to use a field at Regional Park, formerly used by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff soccer program, once approval was received from the commission.

“Everybody doesn’t play football or basketball so we can use soccer to bring everybody in,” Enright said to the commission. “There are some kids who don’t have anything to do and this program will provide them with something.”

Commission Chair Teki Jimenez told Enright that the plan was something that was worth pursuing and that the Parks and Recreation Department would work with him to create a youth soccer program for Pine Bluff.

Parks Director Angela Parker said that the soccer program could be under the purview of Hildreth, who would work with Enright to get it off the ground.

The commission agreed to Parker’s recommendation and instructed Hildreth to work with Enright on the soccer program with the goal of getting it started in the spring of 2012.

In other business, the commission discussed ongoing problems concerning a lease between Community Development Institute Head Start and the parks commission for use of space at the Chester Hynes Community Center.

Parker said that she had been in talks with Pine Bluff City Attorney Althea Hadden Scott to see what the parks department’s options are regarding which rooms in Chester Hynes are part of the lease and the times of day that CDI can access the center.

“Althea said that the current lease goes through July of 2012 and since CDI assumed the lease from Comprehensive Care and no objections were made at the time to which rooms CDI was using we can’t really do anything about it until we can draft a new lease agreement after July,” Parker said.

Jimenez said the commission needs to make sure that it has the exact number of classrooms and the usage terms of the food prep site clearly laid out in the new lease with Head Start.

Parker said that she would be making a presentation to the city council at the request of Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. to rebut charges made by Fourth Ward Alderman Steven Mays that the parks were not in good shape.

“I am going to present all the work that has been done in the parks and the equipment purchased, at the next city council meeting,” Parker said.

The commission agreed to hold a special called meeting on Jan. 10 at 4 p.m. to discuss the 2012 budget.