Lessons learned as lights come back on at County Farm Soccer Com - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Lessons learned as lights come back on at County Farm Soccer Complex

Andries Butler enjoys a night of soccer practice under the lights for the first time since last week. (Photo source: WLOX) Andries Butler enjoys a night of soccer practice under the lights for the first time since last week. (Photo source: WLOX)
HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

It was tense few days between county officials and soccer parents. But, the lights are on at the County Farm Soccer Complex thanks to a strong partnership between the county and South Mississippi Soccer Club.

The problem was this: Someone wasn’t turning off the lights when practice was over, running up the power bill. So, last Thursday, the county locked things down until a resolution was found.

It created a firestorm of complaints, but officials with South Mississippi Soccer Club and the county seem to be on the same page.

“Yeah, it was very disappointing,” Andries Butler said. “It was disappointing as a volunteer coach.”

Long-time coach Russ Carothers with the soccer club felt the anger from both coaches and parents.

“We certainly realized that it was inconvenience when they couldn’t come out,” Carothers said. “When you have a lot of teams - as many as we do - and they can’t practice, that’s tough to hear.”

However, everyone understands what led to the action.

“These big 1500-watt metal lights cost a lot of money to operate, and there’s a bunch of them out here," said one person. "I know it’s a concern for the tax payer to have to fork out the bill.”

Russell Cameron is a resident and retired county employee who regularly had to turn out lights at the complex.

“I’m so far away from it and there's trees and everything. The light doesn’t bother me, but I am concerned about those bulbs burn a lot of electricity. And I know county money is tight sometimes,” Cameron said. 

So, Harrison County Supervisor Angel Middleton took tough action.

“My dad always taught me when you leave a room, you turn the lights off,” Middleton said. “So, we have to be good stewards of our electricity and our power bill.”

Carothers said the problem is a result of the club's huge growth. The club will now limit the number of people with access to the lights, and will better educate them on usage.

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