Big League Dreams’ flagship complex in Manteca is looking a little less in “first-class condition” and in “good repair” as called for in the 35-year lease of the city owed recreation facility.
The biggest complaint made by spectators that pay $3 a pop to attend adult league games and $5 for youth or adult tournaments and then get a one dollar token in return to use at either of the two on-site restaurants are the number of broken seats throughout the six replica stadiums.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin said municipal staff met with BLD corporate management last month to go over concerns about upkeep at the sports complex that cost Manteca $30 million to build.
Among the items discussed were:
uNew seats and backs: Replacement seats are expected to be shipped sometime this week. Manteca park manager Roy Fetherholf has hired four additional workers so the seats can be installed as soon as they arrive. Work is expected to be completed later this month. The seats also will be the same color allowing for quicker replacement of seats when they do break.
uScoreboards: As of June 1, all were functional. Typically when a scoreboard is hit by a ball that affects it ability to function, a boom has to be called to make the repair. Since renting booms are costly, such repairs are lumped together with other needs so it may take a week or two to get a scoreboard back up and running. In some cases organizations staging games at BLD, their umpires will order that the scoreboards not be used. Such is the case with Manteca Youth Softball Association’s fats pitch group.
uGum. All seating areas and walk ways are scraped for gum and power washed on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. After a typical weekend there are 4,000 plus paying spectators.
McLaughlin praised Fetherolf for being “very responsive.”
She said the semi-annual meetings with corporate level BLD staff as required in the lease to confirm standards are being met is essential to make sure BLD management in Manteca is getting the support they need.
“They said this (Manteca) is still by far their most successful park,” McLaughlin said in terms of attendance, tournaments, and overall volume.
McLaughlin said BLD corporate has agreed to step up grounds maintenance that has become problematic thanks to its success as turf has been wearing quicker than at other BLD facilities due to heavy use.
While it is BLD’s dime to cover the expense of maintaining the entre complex, McLaughlin said the contract doesn’t give the city specific teeth for enforcement. She said the on-site semi-annual meetings have been effective at making BLD corporate management aware of conditions and re-enforced efforts made on their behalf by Fetherholf.
BLD is in the preliminary stages of discussing possibly adding two or three additional replica baseball fields to the Manteca complex.
There are 11 BLD complexes in California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.
The complex opened 10 years ago this October.
By the end of the 2015-2016, an analysis conducted more than a decade ago projected Manteca would net $3.7 million from the private-public partnership that had the city building and retaining ownership of the facility and leasing it for 35 years to BLD .
BLD is responsible for all maintenance and operational costs. That projection was off just slightly. Manteca has received $3,723,324.19 — or $23,324.19 more than projected for this point in time.
And if the financial projections continue to hold after 35 years the BLD project will have:
ugenerated more than $12 million for the general fund.
uprovided $528,000 as the city’s share of property tax on the lease agreement.
uyielded $739,712 as the city’s share of on-site sales tax collected.
uallowed $13.9 million in savings for not having to hire workers to run and maintain the sports complex.
ugenerated $7,162,272 in motel room and sales tax from those teams booking rooms and staying overnight in Manteca during tournaments.