MODESTO (CBS13) — Modesto soccer parents are crying foul over parking fees to watch their children’s games.
The Mary Grogan Soccer Complex has been open for only a few months, but it’s generating controversy with its pay-to-park policy.
“I think it’s disappointing,” said parent Tracy Pugh.
The Modesto Youth Soccer Association, which operates the complex, is charging fans $5 on Saturdays to park in the 90 spaces closest to the fields.
“I don’t think they should have to pay, and that’s why we only set aside a small portion of it,” said MYSA Commissioner Frank Cousineau.
Handicapped spaces and spaces that are further away are still free, but some soccer fans were shocked when the new policy had them either reaching for their pocketbooks or walking a little farther.
“We pull up the first Saturday, and they’re charging us to park to get priority parking, or to park way far away,” said Pugh.
“I just can’t believe it,” said parent Kathy Vanlaar. “The first couple weeks they didn’t have it, then they started having it.”
Management says there was more demand for parking than they had anticipated, so they got permission from the city to help fund a dirt overflow lot.
“It was something to help us get through the initial period of unexpected costs, unexpected staffing, and in the meantime we are looking at a number of ways to control costs,” said Cousineau.
And while everyone involved says it’s not the goal they were hoping for, some parents say they’ll be good sports and pay to park if they want the premium spot.
“I would pay the $5, just because it is a little more convenient. It’s not a large fee, so I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” said Natalia Diryawush
MYSA says it will only charge on Saturdays through the end of the soccer season in November. They haven’t decided whether they’ll charge again next year.