Leagues prepare to take over Legacy Fields
by Bob Brownne
Jan 25, 2013 | 2992 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fields of the future
Tracy Babe Ruth 9-10-year-old Reds manager Mark Franco (from left), league business manager David DeLeon and league president Troy Camacho look over the land that is the future home of the Babe Ruth fields at the Legacy Fields of Tracy sports park during a walkthrough Friday, Jan. 18. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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The ground was flat except for the scattered tufts of new grass when Harry Bourassa walked over the Tracy Futbol Club’s new fields at Legacy Fields on Friday, Jan. 18.

However, in his mind, the local soccer club president was envisioning a carpet of green grass covering four new soccer fields, each one filled with kids.

Bourassa said that TFC is ready to start planting grass this spring.

“I can see the vision. No question. I can picture it all,” he said. “The pitch looks excellent, the grading looks excellent. You just want to see kids playing. I’m ready for that.”

Tracy Parks and Community Services Director Rod Buchanan walked Bourassa and other representatives from the Tracy Youth Soccer League and Tracy Babe Ruth baseball league through the sports complex, now known as Legacy Fields, on Friday.

Tracy Little League will also have fields at the park, but a representative was not present.

The first 70-acre, $11.7 million, phase of the 166-acre sports park includes the graded field sites, roads, parking lots, storm drains, and “stub-outs” for the water and electrical utilities.

It is up to the leagues, which will lease the fields from the city for $150 per acre each year, to install irrigation lines and to plant grass.

Buchanan said it will be a few weeks at least before the city hands over the individual sites, pending final inspections and any additional construction details — the “punch list” — that general contractor DeSilva Gates of Dublin will have to address.

“Most of the leagues we talked to indicated that even if they got the fields they most likely wouldn’t start construction until spring, when the weather would allow for that,” Buchanan said. “If a league wants to get started as soon as possible … we would work with the contractor to do the punch list on those fields first so we could accommodate them quicker.”

Bourassa expects TFC to be the first league to start on its fields, which will take up nearly 10 acres. The club’s fields will only need irrigation lines, sprinklers and grass.

“I think a lot of it is going to depend on the budget,” Bourassa said. “We had a two-year plan to budget the funds to put the sprinklers in. Weather permitting, it could happen sooner. I’d love to see us use it this year, but it may not be in the cards. It could be a year, maybe this time next year.”

Other league leaders also face the reality of a big price tag to get their fields ready.

Tracy Babe Ruth president Troy Camacho toured the 14-acre site where his league expects to have five new diamonds ready for play by spring of 2014.

“Right now we’re still doing the fundraising for it,” Camacho said, adding that big sponsors are scarce. “From what I hear, everybody is in the same boat.”

League leaders didn’t have firm numbers on just how much they need to spend to get started. Estimates hovered between $50,000 to $150,000 for each league.

The soccer leagues can get started with just irrigation lines, sprinklers and grass, while the baseball leagues also need backstops, fences and dugouts.

Camacho added that there’s no doubt his league will build in phases. Grass and diamonds come first, the snack bar and lights come later.

“When we first start we can do whatever we need to do to get playing, and then every year do improvements, up to where we’ve completed the plans,” he said.

Rich Poppoff, a member of Tracy Youth Soccer League’s board of directors, said the cost to finish his league’ first four fields on 10 acres depends on how much the city has done by the time it turns the fields over to the league.

As of Friday, he expected the site will need further grading and soil compaction before sprinklers and grass can go in.

“Every dime that the kids don’t have to pay for, that we can get the city to pay, the better off we are,” he said.

TYSL Vice President Jesse Munoz said the league’s goal is to keep registration fees stable for the 1,800-plus kids playing in TYSL.

It costs $125 per player now, but has been as low as $80 per player in recent years.

“We tried to accommodate everyone with the economy,” Munoz said.

Paul Zwicky, president of Tracy Little League, said he has yet to tour the 20-acre site where his league will build seven fields, though he planned to meet with Buchanan on Thursday, Jan. 24, to see it.

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or brownne@tracypress.com.
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