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BLDs growth streak continues in 1st quarter
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Inclement weather in January, February, and March failed to slow down growth in attendance and play at the Big league Dreams sports complex.

Revenues were up 5 percent from the corresponding first quarter of 2009 to hit $486,971 for an increase of $24,251.

At the same time paid attendance jumped 9 percent going from 97,522 in the first quarter of 2009 to 106,634 in the first quarter of this year.

The complex is on track to surpass records set in 2009 that included 2,150,652 in gross receipts plus 430,705 in paid attendance.

The City of Manteca received $494,284.70 in 2009 as its share of the gross under terms of the 35-year lease agreement for the sports complex that features six replica Major League Baseball fields, two restaurants, and an indoor soccer arena.

The $2,150,652 BLD grossed last year topped 2008 receipts by $341,080. Attendance was also up by over 30,000 patrons compared to 2008.

Since the complex was built with nearly $30 million in redevelopment agency funds, there is no debt that must be paid back. Instead a council resolution from four years ago directs the money into parks projects. The philosophy was that out-of-town sports teams plus local adult sports leagues would help underwrite youth recreation facilities for Manteca residents.

Critics contend the city will never retrieve its investment. At the current rate of return Manteca will receive more than $16 million over 35 years plus avoid $17 million in maintenance and operational costs. The business plan for the complex noted if Manteca built a typical sports complex that was run by municipal staff that it would cost at least $500,000 a year to maintain and operate. The lease with BLD makes the private firm responsible for all those costs. The city by using RDA money also avoided financing costs.  RDA, by state law, must create debt by borrowing against property tax increment. Manteca had already borrowed the RDA funds and had them available when the BLD project moved forward. The RDA, which the city utilizes to put in place municipal infrastructure and amenities whenever legal to do so, does not have to be repaid. Most cities borrow money against park growth fees for major recreational facilities and then pay it back with interest as building permits are issued and growth fees are collected.