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Santa Maria looking for additional funding needed to build long-planned sports complex

Santa Maria Sports Complex

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Santa Maria City Council will vote tomorrow on a grant application for up to $6 million that would help provide the needed funding to finally build a long-planned sports complex.

On Tuesday, City Council will consider the grant application to the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the Santa Maria Sports Complex Project.

"The City Council will be voting on approval to move forward with a grant application to the Land Water Conservation fund for a gap measured to help increase the amenities that are available at the new sports complex," said Dennis Smitherman, Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department Recreation Services Manager. "If the council approves the writing for the grant and the Land Water Conservation Fund approves the grant, we'll be able to move forward with the project and it will include all the amenities we had planned for in the beginning."

The overall cost of the project is about $15.5 million. Amenities that are planned include four sports fields, basketball and futsal courts, outdoor game area, playground, trails, snack bar, restrooms and several other features.

"If we're lucky to get selected (for the grant), it will help move the process forward, to bring the park to fruition and add all the amenities," said Smitherman. "We're really hoping to have the whole park built all at once. It's just much more efficient that way."

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Program is to provide funding to acquire land and develop facilities for public outdoor recreation purposes.

The project would be built on an undeveloped piece of property that is currently being used for agriculture at the busy intersection of Depot Street and Battles Road, directly across the street from Minami Park.

Those within the soccer community say the facility is long overdue and much-needed for a city where there are literally thousands of players ranging in all age levels.

"It's a big demand right now," said Juan Velasco, with Central City Soccer. "The need is high here in Santa Maria. Soccer is super popular. It is the main sport here in Santa Maria. Soccer overtakes every single park."

Velasco said his organization has more than 100 teams and pointed out there are many other different leagues, clubs and other soccer groups within the city.

"It's a big need and a big need to have a sports complex here in Santa Maria so we can all use the facility throughout the week and the weekends," said Velasco. "It will be really, really nice. I know more teams will be interested in playing here in Santa Maria. We do get teams from other cities."

According to a Santa Maria staff report, the project would be funded through Proposition 68 Grant funds, County of Santa Barbara Funds, and Park Development Funds.

Smitherman said the city has enough funding to build at least a portion of the project, but fingers are crossed the grant will fill the funding gap and allow for full construction to happen all at once.

He added the goal is to have the facility open in some capacity within about two years.

Article Topic Follows: Community
Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Program
Minami Park
Proposition 68 Grants
Santa Barbara
Santa Maria City Council
Santa Maria Sports Complex Project

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Dave Alley

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