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BLD isnt a drag on budget
Manteca avoids $500K in annual costs, receives $380K
AG-BLD1 7-5-08
A spectator enjoys a weekend tournament at Manteca’s Big League Dreams sports complex. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Big League Dreams – contrary to critics of the project – is anything but a financial drain on the city even in the current economic downtown.

The firm operating the complex is sending $380,000 annually to the city.

The payments include $40,000 and $26,500 to two add on features – the indoor soccer  arena and all-weather turf for all six baseball infields – that were not included in the original BLD project. Those payments are reimbursing 100 percent of the cost of the two projects to the bonus bucks account that represents fees paid by developers for residential sewer allocation certainty and park fees collected on new homes for community facilities.

The remaining $310,000 – by council directive – is going into the park fee account for community facilities. The bulk of the money to build the basic complex came from redevelopment agency funds with park fees covering a smaller part.

The BLD complex is the first recreational improvement that is paying back the park fee account. Elected leaders wanted it that way so ultimately the BLD complex would zero out on its use of park fees for construction and to allow the money paid back to go for other recreational projects.

Finance Director Suzanne Mallory indicated it wasn’t clear if the council – if they opted to do so – could temporarily suspend the payments to the park fee account and divert it to the general fund and then resume reimbursing the park fee account once the budget crisis was over.

The redevelopment funds came from an existing pool of money and are not being paid back. By state law, an RDA must borrow money and go into debt before it can fund projects.

The modeling for the BLD project identifies the RDA money as economic stimulus.

It relies on the visitors – over 300,000 annually last year – who come for weekend tournaments to spend money on hotel rooms, restaurants, gas, and diversions such as shopping at Bass Pro Shops and nearby stores during their stay in Manteca. It isn’t unusual on weekends to see out-of-town players in team uniforms shopping at the nearby Old Navy, Costco, and Kohl’s among other stores or eating in restaurants.

The all-weather infield has allowed the BLD to book tournaments for every weekend since they have been open including holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s.

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

Manteca also is avoiding $17.6 million in maintenance and operation costs they would have occurred over 35 years if it had been built as a basic sports complex such as Tracy’s minus the theme fields, stadium-style seating, indoor soccer arena, and two restaurants.

If Manteca had gone that route, the sports complex would have cost the general fund an average of $500,000 a year for upkeep and staff time. It isn’t costing the city anything.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail