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Santa Maria City Council votes to move forward with funding plan for new sports complex

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Posted at 7:17 PM, May 16, 2023

The Santa Maria City Council voted Tuesday night to move forward with a grant application that would potentially provide funding to develop a new multi-use sports complex in the city.

The vote, 5-0 in favor, approved the filing of an application that, if approved, would provide up to $6 million in federal funding for the proposed project.

The proposed sports complex in Santa Maria would, among other things, include four new sports fields, basketball and futsal courts, an outdoor game area, a playground, trails, restrooms and a snack bar.

City Council’s Tuesday vote will allow the city’s parks and recreation department to complete and file an application for the federal funds before the June 1, 2023 deadline.

The total cost of the project is roughly $15.5 million, according to reporting by KEYT. The requested $6 million would fill the remaining gap in funding.

Additional funding had already been received through other grants.

While the Tuesday vote allows the city to move forward with the grant application, it is not a sure thing that the city will receive the full requested amount — if any at all.

The federal funds would come from a program known as the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The state of California has been allocated roughly $30 million in LWCF funding this year.

City and county governments in California can apply for the funds for various outdoor public-use projects.

The long-awaited sports complex would be built on land behind the Hagerman Sports Complex on Skyway Drive.

The Hagerman Sports Complex primarily hosts softball and baseball games. The proposed Santa Maria Sports Complex would allow for more uses, including soccer, lacrosse, rugby and flag football teams.

The LWCF is a federal grant program that provides matching federal funds to California state, county and city governments to acquire and develop lands for public outdoor recreation purposes. It was established by Congress in 1964.

Over 1,000 parks in California have been created or improved through LWCF funding since 1965, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Annual funding for the LWCF was made permanent when the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law, according to an Interior Department page detailing the LWCF.