The City of Santa Maria was awarded a $6.1 million grant from California State Parks to build a new community sports complex.
The effort for a new complex by city leaders has been underway for many years and in the past they have been denied prior grants for the complex.
"This welcomed commitment finally brings Santa Maria a giant step closer toward more athletic fields where our youth can play and compete, and someday hold tournaments," Mayor Alice Patino said.
In total, the city now has $8.6 million going towards the complex, including pledges of $1 million by the City and $1.5 million by Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
City leaders say the next step is to negotiate the land purchase based on an appraisal to be commissioned. The sports project may include four athletic fields, hard court areas, parking, a playground and support facilities.
Preliminary thoughts by city leaders imagine the sports complex near the corner of Stowell Road and Depot Street, an area included in the Blosser-Southeast Area 5B Specific Plan that also proposes about 1,100 homes, a new school, and some retail commercial development. That land is currently growing strawberries.
City leaders recognize that this will help thousands of local kids who are actively involved in Santa Maria's various soccer leagues and school teams year-round.
The $6.1 million grant is part of $548.3 million in grant funding awarded through the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program, the single-largest investment in state history in expanding access to parks in underserved communities, with new or enhanced parks funded in every region of California.