The move is a jump-start of the club’s plan to have a new home in the downtown area next year – at a new stadium on the Muskegon Lake waterfront, which has long been a goal, or another venue, according to Risers owner Matt Schmitt.
“We’re going for it, I think it’s time,” Schmitt said about playing close to downtown. “It’ll be a trial run and we’ll have a couple different options heading into next summer where we will play. But our ultimate goal is to be in a downtown waterfront stadium.”
In its current state, Nelson Field is not ready for pro soccer action. But modifications will be made to have the surface and seating ready for July 23, Schmitt said.
“We will widen the field and adjust its length,” said Schmitt. “More seating will also be needed and we are working to add bleachers. A fresh coat of paint around the stadium is needed, too.”
The Risers have been hoping to develop a downtown stadium on Mart Dock property near the lake since their inception two years ago. The club says the decision to play at Nelson Field is phase two of their three-phase facility vision.
The feasibility of the new stadium remains a question mark, according to Schmitt.
“It’s out of our hands at this point in terms of the legal side of it. Bascially it comes down to some corporate wheels which will give us approval of the site,” said Schmitt. “But in the mean time, playing at Nelson gets us closer to the center of Muskegon.”