Mayor Brett Lee explains necessary steps before process can begin
The Davis City Council is currently looking into the possibility of building a new sports complex. The council remains in the discussion stage on several aspects, such as location and most importantly, finding the funds to do so.
Davis Mayor Brett Lee explained the city council’s current approach to the sports complex and the impact that COVID-19 has had on any future plans.
“We had what was called a sports park task force made up of community members looking at the need for additional sports facilities and what it might look like,” Lee said. “After they had done their work, we hired a consulting firm to dig a little deeper into it and their report was presented to the city council a couple weeks ago.”
After the consulting firm presented the city council with a few recommendations on how to begin planning, most of which involved spending a fair amount of money, the city council chose one recommendation with which to move forward, said Lee.
At the moment, the city council will consider making a “request for proposals by some private entities.” There is a belief that a private entity may be interested in partnering with the city to handle most of the upfront costs that would come with building the sports complex, according to Lee.
Lee explained that due to the city’s current shelter-in-place orders and the majority of businesses in Davis shutting down as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the city’s finances have taken a hit. This makes it even more difficult to fund such a project.
“Cities up and down California and probably across the U.S. are not receiving as much tax revenue as normal,” Lee said.
For this reason, attempting to partner with a private party that is willing to cover some or all of the costs would be the best idea during this time.
“Without actually testing the waters, it’s hard to answer some folks because they say there’s a lot of private entities that would be happy to build six soccer fields in exchange for naming rights and being able to run tournaments there, which sounds a bit too good to be true,” Lee said.
Nonetheless, the city council will move forward with that idea and open up the option for private entities to present their proposals, if they do in fact have any interest in working with the city and contributing to a potential sports complex.
Lee also explained that the consultants’ report highlighted that there is a shortage of sporting facilities in Davis.
“We do have a shortage of sporting facilities, whether it’s baseball, softball, soccer, things like that, so there are additional needs,” he said. “Right now, the city doesn’t have the ability to go out and actually pay for those ourselves. So in the interim, we’re seeing if there really is an interest from outside entities to come and help fund facilities like that.”
The city council has not yet figured out where the sports complex would be located, although their original report contained “general magnitudes” and the required acres for this project. The sports complex could be located either in one individual location, or across multiple separate locations throughout Davis, according to Lee.
Some members of the community have already expressed the desire for more sports facilities. Once a specific proposal is put together, the city plans to gather input and solicit feedback from the community, said Lee.
Lee describes the current planning for the sports complex as “conceptual,” without much knowledge yet regarding location, cost or how many fields will be constructed.
“We are going to wait and see if there is any private interest in developing those facilities first and then based upon what we find from that we will figure out what our next steps are,” Lee said. “There’s still lots of steps to go.”
Written by: Rain Yekikian — firstname.lastname@example.org