Sacramento could get a new $50 million youth sports complex in Meadowview, Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced Wednesday morning during his youth-focused State of the City address.
The complex would sit on half of the 102-acre property that the city bought earlier this year from the federal government. A proposal, which Steinberg said he and Council member Mai Vang will bring to City Council this summer for approval, could have 24 multi-use fields, including a 2,000 seat field used to host major youth tournaments. It would also have locker rooms, meeting spaces and food facilities, the mayor said.
“The need for more quality youth facilities in Sacramento should be obvious,” Steinberg said during his annual address. “We have so many beautiful parks in our city and a great parks department. But again, we have to be honest, in many of our less affluent neighborhoods, our kids are playing on fields that at best are of uneven quality.”
If approved, the youth sports complex would be only the second major one in the city, following the recent opening of the North Natomas Aquatic Complex. To pay for the $50 million complex, the city would use funds from the hotel tax, which can only be used on projects aimed at boosting tourism. The city would not increase the tax to fund the project.
Based on a conservative estimate of the hotel tax, Steinberg said the city would be able to spend upwards to $100 million for other projects, so long as another crisis does not bring the hotel economy to a halt.
He said if the city and community “started now with design, with planning, and with all the other necessary steps to build an iconic regional sports facility in South Sacramento, we could break ground in 2024 and realize this dream before half the decade is out.”
Kids and families from Sacramento often travel to compete in sporting events, taking with them money that could be circulated within the city. But the complex could attract national, state and local tournaments for soccer, baseball, basketball, rugby and more, bringing them a needed boost for local revenue, Steinberg said.
He added that estimates show the proposed sports facility “would attract 70,000 attendees per year, $28 million a year in visitor spending, 51,000 hotel nights, $3.5 million in total tax collections.”
Communities in South Sacramento — where lighted fields are scarce and parks are sometimes unkempt — have been demanding a project like this for a long time.
“The community said we want, we need and we deserve a modern regional youth sports facility for the community and for the region, and it should be built in the heart of our neighborhoods,” Steinberg said.
The Meadowview site has also been floated as a temporary, large-scale safe parking facility for unhoused people, but no official plans have been released. When the city purchased the property from the federal government for $12.3 million, it also agreed to dedicate a quarter of the land to affordable housing.
Steinberg’s announcement comes days after he joined City Council members Vang and Jay Schenirer to release details of a proposed city ballot measure for youth programming. The measure would require the city to set aside 40% of its cannabis business operations taxes for youth funding, generating an estimated $12 million annually.
After the K Street mass shooting, which left six people killed and a dozen others injured, city officials and community leaders called for more youth and gang violence prevention funding. Sacramento spent north of $38 million on youth funding from July 2021 to June 2022, which included community centers, city pools — including the North Natomas Aquatics Complex — and the Sacramento Zoo.
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