Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
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ALGIERS, La. -- Right now, it's an empty field next to the Skelly baseball diamond near the sprawling Behrman Park in Algiers.

Soon, the land Vespasian Street and Wall Boulevard will be transformed into the finest youth soccer complex in Louisiana.

A decade long, labor of love by the Heitmeier family is about to become a reality.

This week, the three Heitmeier brothers gathered on the field to talk about the project.

'The whole project is exciting to know that this is going to be the first soccer stadium in the entire state, that kids will be able to come here and hopefully they'll be able to play the state championship games here,' said David Heitmeier, a state senator and local optometrist.

The Heitmeiers learned this month that New Orleans leaders are naming the facility after their late father Dewey Joseph Heitmeier, a celebrated athlete and longtime coach in Algiers.

'What a great feeling to know that it's actually coming to fruition,' said Bobby Heitmeier, a successful river pilot. 'It's really a good thing.'

Francis Heitmeier, an Algiers insurance broker, helped secure funding for the $12 million complex when he chaired the Senate Finance Committee in the Louisiana Legislature.

'Never in our wildest dream thought anybody would name it after our dad,' said Francis. 'That was never the reason behind it. The whole thing was to have a place, hopefully we'll see the state playoff games in the stadium.'

David said the tribute to his dad is very humbling.

'It's pretty emotional. The whole thought that this was my dad's idea over a decade ago and we were able to, with a lot of people's help to be able to get the dollars to build the soccer stadium.'

Bobby said the project softens the blow of losing their mother earlier this year.

'This is the first year that we're not doing Thanksgiving with mom or dad, unfortunately,' he said.

The Heitmeiers are happy the stadium will be around for generations of young people to enjoy.

'I can't wait until my grandson plays out here,' said Francis. 'He's playing soccer right now, and I can't wait until it gets built and we come to the Dewey Heitmeier stadium and my grandson Nolan Heitmeier is playing.'

'What an honor,' said Bobby. 'To have something named after your father, wow.'

'I remember playing at Behrman growing up,' said David. 'I remember playing at Skelly. Now, hopefully a lot of these kids will remember playing at Heitmeier Stadium.'

Crews are expected to break ground on the new Heitmeier Soccer Complex in April. It is expected to include three practice fields, a 9000-seat stadium and plenty of parking.

Council members Jackie Clarkson and Kristen Palmer pushed to name the new soccer stadium in honor of Dewey Heitmeier.

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