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Is the Harrisburg City Islanders soccer team planning to build a stadium at Penn State Harrisburg?

By David Barr davidbarr@pressandjournal.com
Posted 4/12/17

The Harrisburg City Islanders soccer team is pursuing a move to Penn State Harrisburg, where the team would build a multi-million dollar stadium with help from a state Redevelopment Assistance …

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Is the Harrisburg City Islanders soccer team planning to build a stadium at Penn State Harrisburg?

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The Harrisburg City Islanders soccer team is pursuing a move to Penn State Harrisburg, where the team would build a multi-million dollar stadium with help from a state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant.

The grant request is on a list of the first round of RACP submissions, listed under Dauphin County and Lower Swatara Township.

“Funds will be used to finance construction and infrastructure of a professional grade soccer stadium with 5,000 seats, dedicated VIP areas, entrance plaza, concessions, restrooms, indoor locker rooms, a state-of-the-art broadcasting booth, and a new scoreboard. The new facility will allow the Harrisburg City Islanders to remain competitive with major market teams and will provide PSU the opportunity to improve its athletic education capacity,” the request states.

RACP, according to the official website for the state of Pennsylvania, “is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.”

The Islanders were born Sept. 24, 2003, and their first season was in 2004. Since then, the team has accumulated 128 wins, 96 losses, and 81 ties. They open their season Saturday. They will play this year on City Island, at FNB Field.

A story on the City Islanders’ website from 2015 said the team’s goal was to build the stadium at the Skyline Sports Complex on City Island. The total cost of that project, according to the 2015 news release, was $13.9 million.

“Without the construction of a new stadium on City Island, the Harrisburg City Islanders will be forced to move to another location which may be outside of Central Pennsylvania,” the 2015 release said.

Repeated attempts to get comment from the City Islanders and Penn State Harrisburg were not successful.

The Islanders are attempting to meet a United Soccer League mandate that they play in a soccer-specific stadium. That call was initiated by the USL, which began a partnership in May 2015 with HOK, a firm specializing in global designing, architecture, engineering, and planning.

The hope in 2015 was to have USL teams playing in soccer-specific stadiums by 2020, and have all clubs playing in stadiums that have a 5,000 minimum capacity in 2017.

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