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Long-planned Santa Maria sports complex continues to slowly move forward

Santa Maria Sports Complex

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The long-planned Santa Maria sports complex continues to make steady progress and move forward towards becoming reality.

"The plans are almost completed and we look to break ground later this year while we're still trying to procure some more funding," said Dennis Smitherman, Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department Recreation Services Manager. "We're a couple million dollars short. We plan to have some fields up and running in the next couple of years."

The project has been in the works for about 10 years and 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.

The overall cost of the project is about $13 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.

"It's exciting," said Bill Reynolds, president of Central Coast Surf soccer club. "To hear that they're about to break ground is really exciting. This is going to be big for soccer clubs in Santa Maria because they will have a designated field. It's just amazing and it's going to be huge."

Currently, Santa Maria has secured $9.6 million in funding, leaving the city just over $3 million short of the overall cost of the project.

"If the city can get over the $10 million threshold ,we're going to be able to break ground fairly comfortably while still continuing to seek further money," said Smitherman. "We're going to be able to start building and get the fundamentals of the project, including the infrastructure in some fields, maybe not all the amenities right away while we continue to seek additional funding."

One of the highlights of the new complex will be its location, which differs from many other city fields, which are built in storm basins.

"When when the rain comes, game play pauses," said Smitherman. "These fields are going to be the first fields designed in Santa Maria to withstand the rain and let soccer players play around."

Reynolds emphasized the importance of having fields that are able to handle storms, noting the Crossfields facility remains inaccessible after flooding from storm runoff during recent rainstorms.

"Last year we lost Crossroads for almost a half a year," said Reynolds. "Right now we haven't had Crossroads since January because of the rain. Having a field that's dedicated, that has good drainage, that's not a water basin, it's a day or two (without play) versus three weeks to a month."

Once construction begins, Smitherman pointed out work will be completed in separate phases.

"Phase one will obviously be the infrastructure phase to get me to get the fields in," said Smitherman. "Then other phases will be a lot of the amenities that we'll see as the community wants to use the park. This open greenspace area will be exciting for the community, for all different sports and activities. You can see everything from soccer and rugby all the way to a concert venue and other fun activities and events for the community."

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Santa Maria Sports Complex Project

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Dave Alley

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