Build it and they will come. That’s the hope of Brentwood City Council with its proposed Sand Creek Sports Complex, which has received a boost with the approval of a contract to design and plan the multimillion-dollar facility. .
On November 15, Brentwood City Council unanimously approved the hiring of Verde Design Inc. of Granite Bay to plan and design the 30-acre football development at Sand Creek Road and Fairview Avenue.
“Thank you very much for that,” Council member Jovita Mendoza said in her opening remarks on the item. “I’ve been waiting for 20 years, so I’m very excited.”
Bruce Muldur, director of Brentwood Parks and Recreation, said Verde Design was one of 24 companies that expressed interest and one of two that submitted bids. Planning will begin later this month and continue through next year and include public comment, with construction slated for 2024, he said.
“They (Verde Design) emphasized that they understood operational approaches to balancing local recreational needs and league play with tournament-level facilities,” he said. “And they will work with Brentwood to determine the optimal operating model and design suitable for Brentwood.”
Long in the making, the football field complex, along with possible park amenities like playground equipment, restrooms and a picnic area, would be built on 14.5 acres of municipal property. A second phase, in a 19.5 acre retention basin, would include two or three additional soccer fields.
The estimated cost of the planning and design work is $1,945,331, an amount that includes a 15% contingency of $253,738 in case more is needed as the project progresses. The total project is estimated at $15 million, to be paid for primarily by American Rescue Act funds and trail development impact fees.
Although council members generally supported the project, which was identified as a top priority in the city’s strategic plan, they questioned whether natural grass should be part of the plans.
“You said the focus would be on the artificial turf on the part of town,” Councilwoman Karen Rarey said. “But, based on community input, are you saying that what we said in our strategic initiative session – that we wanted artificial turf on this pitch – can be changed by input public?”
Muldur agreed that artificial turf works “very well”, but suggested landscape experts and the community should weigh in when it comes to this stage of the planning process.
“There are a lot of different considerations between natural grass and artificial grass,” he said.
Rarey said she understands there are pros and cons, but doesn’t like the decision being taken out of the hands of council and left to the parks and recreation commission.
“It’s our strategic initiative and we don’t have a say anymore,” she said.
But Muldur countered that the city council could at any time bring the project back for consideration. City manager Tim Ogden added that if the council wants artificial turf, it will be designed that way.
Mendoza reiterated the idea was to offer artificial pitches because that is what football tournament organizers prefer.
Mulder explained that the intention was to use artificial grass for the upper part of the field to maximize the number of fields, but natural grass was planned in the basin area.
“Our goal is to bring hot bodies to drive economic development, to bring hot bodies to businesses in Brentwood,” Mendoza said, adding that maximizing the number of fields was important.
“I know Santa Clara is working on a…they won’t even have space between fields to maximize space (for more fields),” she said.
City Attorney Damien Brower reminded council that the item before them was just a design contract to get the process started.
The residents who spoke all supported the project but did not agree on the type of grass.
Danny Dohrmann said artificial turf can get too hot, making pitches unplayable.
“I’m worried because it looks like the management staff are going to get their artificial turf, despite the fact that we haven’t even thought about what we would like to see in the community,” Dohrmann said. “It feels like the point where you don’t even want the party to start unless it’s specifically artificial turf.”
But Carolina Villaseca suggested the council should look into maintenance issues.
“From a maintenance standpoint, weed is really, really, really expensive,” she said. “…. We must also take a look at the practicality of maintenance. If you have a football tournament with hundreds of kids playing football on the grass all day, you are destroying the pitches. »
Before asking for a vote on the design contract, Rarey reminded council members that the city had done extensive awareness campaigns two years ago, including with football players, and that “artificial turf was in head of the list”.
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