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Manteca scores with BLD

Annual payments inch up toward $400K

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Manteca scores with BLD

The Big League Dreams sports complex is three months shy of eight years of operation in Manteca.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED July 23, 2014 1:11 a.m.

The Big League Dreams sports complex is heading into the home stretch of its eighth full season and it is still scoring big for Manteca.

For the seventh consecutive fiscal year rent payments to the city continued to increase reaching $392,094 for the 12-month period ending June 30. That’s up $19,000 over the previous fiscal year and is $82,000 more than the $310,000 Manteca received in BLD’s first full fiscal year of operation.

The BLD complex has generated just under $2.4 million for municipal coffers since it opened in October 2006.

“It’s still hitting home runs for Manteca,” noted Mayor Willie Weatherford who for seven years through the approval process until it was completed was the primary target of those in the community adamantly against the public-private partnership.

And while the growing rent payments are pleasing Weatherford, he said the most important thing for Manteca’s bottom line is the expense the city is avoiding by having built the facility with $29 million in redevelopment agency funds and then leasing it out for 35 years to operate and maintain.

When the end of October rolls around it is estimated Manteca will have avoided paying out $4 million or $500,000 a year to pay for staff to run the facility and maintain it as well as paying for maintenance, upkeep, replacing items and other costs such as electricity.

“It would have been an annual expense on the city budget many times more than upkeep on the Northgate Softball complex,” Weatherford noted.

The city also doesn’t have a debt payment to make from the general fund since the BLD complex was paid for with RDA bond receipts. That means neither the cost of building or borrowing the money to finance the six softball fields and indoor soccer arena plus two restaurants or the cost of running is a drag on the general fund.

Had the facility been built in a conventional manner such as the Tracy softball complex, Manteca would have had operating maintenance and debt expenses approaching $800,000 a year.

The Manteca complex continues to be the most successful of all 11 BLD facilities located in California, Nevada and Texas. It is top in play, revenues, and attendance.

The Manteca complex has yet to have a weekend — including winter holidays — where there hasn’t been at least one tournament booked.

Weatherford said that is one reason why the city needs to consider possibly building two more auxiliary fields as part of the proposed 170-acre family entertainment zone immediately west of BLD that could be anchored by a Great Wolf Lodge resort.

The mayor said the two additional fields would provide time for maintenance of the other fields plus meet a growing demand at the same time.

The original assumptions for the BLD complex projected 28 weekends of tournament play.

Manteca receives 16 percent of all revenues up to $1.4 million a year. Beyond $1.4 million in revenues brought in through registration, gate fees, restaurant receipts and pro shop sales the city receives 20 percent.

“Having it run by people with a business plan makes all the difference,” Weatherford said.

The mayor said if a similar arrangement was in place to run, operate, and maintain the municipal golf course he is confident that the course would be sending money to the city’s general fund each year.

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silverblck: 1 month, 1 week ago

Mr Wyatt
Here is a comment that I wrote to Mr Campbell last year when he reported on the same almost duplicate article last year. Seeing as it has been a year since that article came out, there has been no change to comment that I posted nearly a year and half ago.

I came across your article in the Manteca Bulletin in regards to BLD and the amount if effort the BLD says that it puts into the park itself. I have played at BLD for over 5 years and was quite disappointed with your reporting. Speaking with the employees, especially management, they are not going to say anything derogatory/negative about the park. Perhaps revisiting your reporting and speaking with players who use the fields on a weekly/regular basis to get a true sense of the condition of the six replica fields. The fields are used quite extensively and due to this, the wear and tear on the fields is quite evident.

For one, putting money into the graphics into the outfield bleachers should be bypassed in lieu of replacing the the artificial turf on the infields of all six fields. The patch work that is done on the infields actually creates a safety issues for the players. The patch work is mismatched height wise to the existing aged field and creates in many circumstances a tripping hazards for player who are running on the turf. Sliding into any of the bases creates a hazard due to the mismatched height especially when coming off of the aged turf to the new turf.
In other instances the mismatched turf creates the same type type of hazard when balls are hit in the infield and hit the edges of the mismatched turf and causes a ricochet and now a grounder may turn into a shoulder high bounce. For instance, on Fenway, in the shortstop area there is a 2ft x 2ft patch and if any balls are hit in that area, I make no attempt to play a grounder if it is hit in that area since I have experienced the random/ricochet when the ball was hit and hit the patch work. With the use of composite bats, grounders and line drives can be hit upwards of 100mph. Perhaps BLD is not concerned with player safety since each player is required to sign a waiver relinquishing the park from any liability for injuries sustained.

Many players I have spoken with are disappointed that BLD continues to raise the prices for players to play in leagues and the result of the increased prices do not result in better field conditions with player safety in mind. The park opened in late 2006 and in speaking with some former employees the artificial turf was supposed to be replaced after five years which has not been done. Whether or not this is true of not, I have not seen it writing and was unable to find it. BLD is well ahead on payments/debt that it owes the City of Manteca. Perhaps they could close the park for a week and due their due diligence and replace the turf on the fields in lieu of allowing greed to cloud their judgement and put player safety at risk.

JimHilson: 1 month, 3 weeks ago

So the complex has paid nearly 400k this year. How about some real reporting Dennis? How much did the city spend to support the complex? When you have a valid answer, please subtract it from the money collected. That paltry figure is what BLD actually brings to Manteca if it is a positive number and how much it actualy costs Manteca if that is a negative number. Basic accounting 101 Mr. Wyatt.
We all want to know the answer!
By the way, please apply the same math to the water park numbers you keep spewing out.

fjar: 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I don't qualify as a Rhodes Scholar, but something is wrong with Willies math, in praising the BLD for its success. Mr. Wyatt reports that the city has received just under 2.4M in eight years since it's inception.That averages out to 300,000 per year. I might ask how much under 2.4M did the city receive. If it's a considerable amount, it would equate to less than 300k per year. Willie not everyone buys into your phoney successful dealings.

The overall success of the BLD has to be considered on a average and the lean years you received less.Inflating the receipts to make you look successful Willie, doesn't cut it.

fjar: 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Democracy is a joke in this city, for this Mayor and council has always denied citizens a say in what they spend for Special Interest. This Mayor and Council has operated in a Socialistic manner for four consecutive terms, by the four male members of this council. They strictly consummate all large deals behind closed doors.They take months to approve of deals behind closed doors and then give the people 3 minutes to air their views in the council meeting. Then Willie raps his infamous gavel on the table to allegedly approve the deal, when they have already approved the deal behind closed doors.This council is no different than any Communist Government that dictates to the people.This country has real nerve in condemning Russia's President, when Socialistic groups like this council, operates in the same fashion.

Weatherford and company has miserably failed this community in denying infrastructure that we need. They have almost concluded four terms on this council and there has been no serious intents to focus on a new library or a Performing Arts infrastructure project.
All interests has been on basing Special Interest in this city. Perhaps Weatherford can explain why 70M in hoarded RDA residual taxes was not considered for a new library.It seems this was committed entirely to Special Interest and highway projects. The people of Manteca who pay the taxes is treated secondary to Special Interest tax predators this council feeds our taxes to.

Weatherford says we need 2more ball fields to be anchored by Wolf Resorts basing. We are flooded with sports already. Where is the interest in city infrastructure. Extreme lip service has been the only interest in our library.

Now one more expenditure on Wolf by this city, prevents us from having a new library.
This council spent us into a 500M RDA debt and not one cent was considered for a library.Instead they bought old gutted buildings that robbed this city of taxes for years.
Yes Willie and company wasted a considerable amount of our taxes.
What this city pays on the high RDA debt with it's interest, cancels out any money we receive annually from retail and the BLD. So don't thump your chest Willie, in saying you brought riches and prosperity to Manteca.You focused on retail, to cover your RDA debt you and this council ran up on the taxpayers.

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