Pete Lopez wanted to keep it simple.
An avid soccer fan and father of three soccer-playing daughters, Lopez saw a need for an all-season training space in the area.
It's hard to make that happen. You need land, money and materials. You can make money and buy materials, but ask anyone these days how tough it is to acquire land and then build on it.
Lopez, who lives and works in the Berkshires, had to be patient and find the right space. He couldn't make it happen in Berkshire County, but "25 minutes from everywhere," as he calls Canaan, N.Y., Lopez's vision became a reality last year.
That vision has become one of the finest indoor facilities you'll find in the region, and a blueprint for what cities like Pittsfield should eventually find room for in order to keep up with the proverbial Joneses.
The Fieldhouse, located just off I-90's New Lebanon exit on Route 22 in Canaan, has been open for a little more than a year now. The facility hosts mostly soccer events, but has also made room for football, lacrosse, baseball, ultimate frisbee ... and remote-controlled airplane flying.
"When we built it, I anticipated certain things, but not flying," Lopez joked.
The state-of-the-art turf in the facility has better give than many natural-grass fields that will be used as high school football practice begins today. It's not a big field, but Lopez put the turf inside the biggest pre-fabricated barn he could buy. It has a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system, and has wireless access with the ability to show video on both a television and projector screen just off the field.
All told, it cost more than $1 million of Lopez's and his family's money. The sub-base and turf alone cost about $120,000.
To Lopez, the Fieldhouse was a worthwhile purchase. It's used year-round. It's simple to maintain, as the occasional raking is all the indoor turf requires. He estimates he breaks even with a $100/hour rental fee for teams and clinics.
"We had always planned to do something like this to give back," he said.
And apparently, the players love it.
"You've got some players who comment, ‘I don't know why anyone plays anywhere else,' " Lopez said.
Are the building costs high? Yes. Is it tough to find land? It certainly is. Will there be those who say a city like Pittsfield doesn't need this and shouldn't give any of the city's money to a project like this? Of course.
Think about this, though: Will a city like Pittsfield be a viable sports city in the future without some kind of turf facility? Probably not.
To build a facility like that around here, a lot of things -- most of all patience -- will be required.
It's going to require some hard questions being answered. It's going to require someone with deep pockets -- or many people with semi-deep pockets. (Whatever happened to the group trying to make a multi-purpose turf facility in Pittsfield happen?)
But Lopez would tell you that the money is worth it.
"Folks have said, ‘You could clone these,' " he said. "If another indoor facility grew up in Pittsfield, that's great."
To reach Matthew Sprague:
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On Twitter: @EagleSportsZone.