A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, April 16, heralded the next step in building the 70-acre first phase of the 166-acre complex.
Rod Buchanan, director of Parks and Community Services, said the fields have been in the making for 16 years.
“This will be the largest multiuse sports venue in the area, and possibly the state,” Buchanan told a crowd of about 60 people.
The city has completed its $11.8 million share of the first portion of the complex and now opens it up to Tracy Little League, Tracy Babe Ruth, Tracy Youth Soccer League and Tracy Futbol Club.
Mayor Brent Ives said Legacy Fields departs from most sports field projects. Rather than renting existing fields, leagues get to lease the land at a lower yearly rate of $150 per acre, provided they put in the sprinklers, grass and any buildings or fences for their respective sports. The clubs are also responsible for taking care of their fields.
“That partnership is unique, but it shouldn’t be,” Ives said. “There needs to be more public and private partnerships in this state and in this country in order to be able to continue to be able to provide for the quality of life for our citizens.”
Now, the leagues must come up with the money to pay for their share. Some are ready to build, while others need to find enough money to get started.
Darlene Wilharm, registrar for Tracy Youth Soccer League, which has about 1,900 players, said the league probably won’t have fields ready for TYSL’s fall season.
“Our next step will be to bring someone out here to see what the actual costs are going to be,” she said.
The league will pay about $1,500 each year for its 10 acres at Legacy Fields, including four full-size soccer fields, each of which can be split into two fields for younger divisions.
TYSL pays $15,000 per year to rent five full-size fields at Plasencia Fields and four full-size fields at the Tracy Sports Complex, Wilharm said. She said the league will still have to rent one of those venues to accommodate all its players, even with the addition of Legacy Fields.
The president of Tracy Little League, Paul Zwickey, said the league is ready to get to work but will wait until summer.
“Once the season ends in June or July,” Zwickey said, “then we can really move full-steam ahead.”
Chris Hewitt, past president of Tracy Little League, said the priority is the first five diamonds for players through the 11-12 age division, with two larger diamonds to come later.
The cost of each diamond is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000, and the league is looking for ways to minimize its expenses.
“So much of this is going to be done with sweat equity,” Hewitt said.
Tracy Babe Ruth President Troy Camacho agreed that money would decide how soon his group can get five baseball diamonds ready for games.
“We’ve talked to a few different people who said they want to help us get going,” Camacho said. “We just have to sit down with them and see what we can do.”
Representatives of Tracy Futbol Club were not at the Tuesday ceremony.
Spirit of California developer James Rogers, who has proposed a huge theme park, motorsports park and casino just north of Legacy Fields, dropped by to tell the league leaders that he could help the leagues get started this summer.
“I’ve got it all set up if they want to do it,” Rogers said. “The cash is waiting for them. I’m going to meet with them and talk about the details, see if they want to play.”
Rogers also has to convince the Tracy City Council to enter a new exclusive negotiating-rights agreement that gives him priority to buy 628 acres of city-owned land north of the fields.
Buchanan and Andrew Malik, the city development services director, recommended in March that the council end its partnership unless Rogers could adequately explain some of his past business ventures, which have resulted in lawsuits and, in one case, a bankruptcy.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.