Games kicking off at Westfield’s Grand Park

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Competition at Westfield’s massive Grand Park Sports Campus kicks off this weekend—literally.

Westfield Youth Soccer Association is hosting a pair of so-called college showcases featuring the top travel teams from Westfield Select Soccer Club. The boys take the field(s) March 14-16, starting with a 6:30 p.m. Friday matchup between the U18 Premier teams from Carmel United and Westside United. Girls’ teams compete March 21-23.

College coaches from across the country are expected to attend.

In the works since 2010, the 400-acre park is an economic development play for Westfield. The city is looking to increase commercial investment and diversify its tax base. Officials hope businesses are drawn to the million-plus visitors expected to flock to the facilities each year.

Youth soccer teams began practicing under the lights at Grand Park this week, Mayor Andy Cook said Monday.

“It’s happening,” he told the Westfield City Council.

Billed as the largest youth-sports complex in the country, Grand Park will have 26 diamonds for baseball and softball and 31 multipurpose fields for soccer, lacrosse, football, rugby and field hockey. Two indoor facilities also are planned.

Although the harsh winter has slowed construction at the park, the games must go on. (A baseball game also is scheduled for Friday night.)

City Council members on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance regulating food vendors in Westfield. The measure allows food trucks to roll into town on an invitation-only basis for special events, neighborhood parties and to serve large employers.

Grand Park is largely off-limits, but a “clean zone” around the park included in an early version of the ordinance has been eliminated.

Westfield isn’t charging mobile vendors a fee, but it imposed a fine of $100-$300 per violation for rogue food trucks. That could add up, given its definition of an offense: Each unauthorized transaction counts as a violation.

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