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February 14, 2006 > Editorial: Big League Dreams

Editorial: Big League Dreams

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about building sports fields, attracting major league teams and expanding the outdoor recreational opportunities of our area. While the greater Tri-Cities are not exactly a desert of outdoor recreational opportunities, population growth and expansion of sport preferences will continue to put pressure on municipalities to create more and larger venues for these activities. As examples, note the rapid growth of soccer and the emergence of world sports such as cricket.

While speaking with Coach Donna Runyon of Ohlone College's women's softball team, she mentioned the state championships will be held in Redding this year in a unique facility that offers playing fields modeled after historic ball parks. I made a quick trip to the internet to check out Big League Dreams and learned about their public/private partnership program. This creates a literal "field of dreams" sports complex providing a huge range of sports activities for local folks without costing them an arm and leg in entry fees. How can this be so? Through a public/private partnership, it appears that everyone wins. A state-of-the-art facility is built while risk and control is designed to minimize bureaucracy and incorporate the best of all worlds.

In our area, a collaborative effort between cities to find the land, develop the municipal partnership and create a private enterprise component could bring something unique to the Bay Area. If it turns out that Big League Dreams is not the answer, at least the structure is created to explore other possibilities. It appears that this Cathedral City company has a winning combination of harnessing the nostalgia for stadiums across the nation and providing a venue for a multitude of sports and other stadium activities.

It may be that this idea is simply a "field of dreams" proposal, but a serious discussion of the potential of such a park by area mayors and/or councilpersons is, in my mind, certainly worth the effort. TCV readers can visit and read the material; see if it makes sense. There is enough talent, energy and economic power in our area to take aggressive steps toward a Southeast Bay renaissance. It is time to think "outside the box" and move forward as a consortium of cities. If nothing else, this field of dreams certainly gives food for thought.

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