A local organization that annually allows more than 4,000 youths to participate in sports recently purchased its second athletic complex.

A local organization that annually allows more than 4,000 youths to participate in sports recently purchased its second athletic complex.

The Pickerington Youth Athletic Association Inc. completed the purchase March 15 of a 32-acre sports complex at 12740 Milnor Road.

The complex, formerly home to the Flash Youth Soccer Club, will immediately provide more athletic fields for the PYAA. Acquiring it also is expected to alleviate traffic congestion and parking issues at the PYAA's longtime sports complex at 630 Hill Road.

The PYAA shares that facility with the Columbus Futbol Academy, formerly known as the Pickerington Area Soccer Association.

"Right now, there are three fields in operation (at the Milnor Road complex)," said Beth Andrews, PYAA operations manager. "Our lacrosse teams already are using them."

The PYAA is a nonprofit, volunteer-based youth sports organization, which receives no government or tax funding. The PYAA's website states it provides recreational opportunities to youths living in the Pickerington Local School district, and has more than 4,000 youth participants in 11 different sports.

According to the Fairfield County Auditor's Office, the Milnor Road complex was purchased for $768,000.

PYAA officials said the facility will be paid for with money collected over the past two decades through a site fund, in addition to future fundraising programs.

"Throughout the years, we've been looking for more and more opportunities for kids to play different sports," Andrews said. "We have needed to grow.

"Mainly, we were looking for additional land so we can continue to grow in different kinds of sports. One of our focuses is trying to give as many kids the opportunity to play as many sports as they can."

Andrews said the Milnor Road complex is a good fit for the PYAA, in part, because it provides significant land that already is suited for athletic uses. She also said it was important for the organization to expand within Pickerington.

"Most of the land we were looking at was outside the city," she said. "The location is just great for Pickerington parents, and then we had the land already developed."

Andrews said PYAA officials continue to develop plans for future use of the Milnor Road complex, the addition or expansion of athletics programs and the possible construction of related facilities.

Pickerington city manager Bill Vance said the PYAA's decision to expand in Pickerington is a positive move for youths who will continue to have opportunities to participate in organized athletics.

"It is good to see that our community's PYAA has the ability to expand the fantastic recreational facilities and opportunities their organization provides for our local youth," Vance said. "The city of Pickerington remains in their debt and will continue to assist their efforts whenever possible."