Youth football complex kicks off new phase, pro stadium stalled
Even as Pattaya youths prepare to take the field at a revitalized sports stadium, the city’s professional football pitch remains benched, a 774 million baht white elephant with no completion date in sight.
Pattaya City Councilman Praiwan Arromchuen, chairman of the sports and recreation committee, checked on progress of both complexes at a May 15 meeting.
The good news, he said, is that the Pattaya Youth Sports Complex, a 12-rai facility on Thepprasit Road, has gotten a long-overdue spruce-up. Artificial turf has replaced the dead grass that recently covered the football field, and plans are in the works to construct a hostel to house athletes staying in Pattaya for youth-sports events.
The National stadium is still not completed.
More needs to be done, however. Hailed during its 2006 construction as a valuable resource for area youths, the center quickly fell into disrepair. In 2010, city council members toured the site to also find a track-and-field area that had collapsed and broken showers at the swimming pool. Politicians pledged to submit a report and budget request so repairs could be made quickly, but nothing was done until January this year.
Pattaya City Councilman Praiwan Arromchuen, chairman of the sports and recreation committee.
The committee May 16 agreed to restrict use of the facility to government employees, organizations or events organized by city hall. In addition, the panel is putting the final touches on rental rates to help pay for upkeep of the facility.
The problems run much deeper than dead grass at Pattaya’s National Sports Stadium, however.
Begun in 2009, the 774 million baht sports complex being erected near the Indoor Sports Arena on Soi Chaiyapruek 2 was intended to house 12 different sport fields, swimming pool, tennis court, 12 main and minor sport stadiums and a 500-car parking lot.
The first phase of the project, with 90 million baht spent on 5,000 of the planned 20,000 seats at the football stadium, was completed in September 2010. Grass was planted and construction of the final 15,000 seats was supposed to begin with a 500 million budget later that year, with completion set for late 2012.
Pattaya’s Youth Stadium has a brand new artificial turf surface, and is ready to go.
But after a series of design and construction delays, Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome in February 2012 diverted 140 million baht in stadium-construction funds to beautify the landscape on Pattaya Beach, work that now is being wiped out by his subsequent proposal to widen Beach Road.
With less money to build, Pattaya officials demanded cost cuts and price concessions from the contractor. Claiming the delays actually had made the job unprofitable, the contractor quit, leaving the city with no money and no company to build Itthiphol’s dream stadium.
Praiwan said the city is now searching for a construction company to do the job at a lower price.