Grass Valley eyes packed crowds if new park fields OK’d
Proposed park athletic fields cited as revenue stream for Grass Valley
A multi-use athletic field leased for tournament play has been proposed by Grass Valley’s financial team.
The field could be quickly acquired and reap economic activity, playing host to Little League or Gold Country Soccer competitions, officials say.
A handful of sites are being eyed, though City Manager Tim Kiser declined to name them.
A lease financing structure called a certificate of participation would fund the new $6 million parks improvement project. This funding mechanism is similar to a municipal bond, but does not require voter approval. That means the purchase can happen quicker, said Andy Heath, city financial director.
The field would be a combination baseball/softball field with a soccer/lacrosse field in the outfield that provides associated uses of parking, lighting and restrooms.
The issue, discussed at the last City Council meeting, is expected to return to the council’s next meeting for a vote.
The city will rely on annual revenue from Measure E — the half-cent sales tax that was raised to 1 cent in 2018 — as collateral security. The tax is forecast to generate a $2.9 million annual allocation specifically toward parks and streets, out of a total $6 million annually, said City Manager Tim Kiser.
“It’s like buying a house,” Kiser said. “The city will pay back the funds $600,000 per year over the course of 10 years.”
The fields will be able to be used year-round because they will be artificial turf with natural infill, Heath said.
“Which is important today because we don’t deal with soggy fields, we don’t deal with watering and won’t be impacted by a drought,” he said.
There has been considerable demand for such a facility from regional stakeholders, who point to Grass Valley’s ideal location.
“Can you imagine having weekend tournaments with lots of people coming to town, going from field-to-field and ultimately playing for a championship?” Heath said. “My daughter has experienced this in Incline Village at Tahoe, where they have a similar facility and have a lot of people go to this. I can see that happening in Grass Valley.”
William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com
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