Plans to construct a 40-acre sports complex near the Santa Ana River were approved by the Colton City Council on Tuesday. However, several environmental and physical concerns will be addressed before plans move forward.
Conceptual drawings of the sports complex, created by the Integrated Consulting Group (ICG), demonstrate that the endangered plant Woolly Star and a former landfill site interfere with construction plans. Yet, residents and city officials are confident development will proceed.
“Everyone is invested in this,” said Councilwoman Summer Zamora-Jorrin, who previously served on the Colton Parks and Recreation Commission. “We’ve waited a long time for this.”
According to CGI representative Ron Hagen, it will cost the city approximately $18 million to construct the sports complex, which will comprise of five full size synthetic soccer fields, three mid size natural soccer fields, and 13 overlay fields for community use. Maintenance of the complex will cost the city about $200,000 a year.
City Manager Bill Smith’s staff report outlines the steps taken by ICG to address the concerns. Environmental studies and other reports were conducted to assess ways to diminish fears of habitat degradation and toxic exposure.
ICG suggests working with CalRecycle and the Local Enforcement Agency to clean up any leftover hazardous waste from the Guyaux Waste Disposal Site, as well as creating a Woolly Star habitat area and grading specific areas to control potential flooding.
“This is among the most challenging projects we have done,” confessed Hagen.
Approval by the council means site plans for the complex can be presented to regulatory agencies for further amendments, according to Smith’s report.
Plans to build a complex were first discussed in 2001, according to a San Bernardino Sun story published in August of 2007. A breakdown in negotiations with the County of San Bernardino and the Wildlands Conservancy, as well as internal disputes killed the plans.
Colton business owner and Planning Commissioner Gary Grossich explained Measure T–an initiative on November’s ballot that will increase the Transient Occupancy Tax (Hotel Tax) to 12.5-percent–could provide the funding needed to construct the complex.
Grossich argues upgrading existing fields and constructing a complex will bring in more tourists for future tournaments, which in turn will generate more revenue.
“We’ve waited for many years,” he told the Council on Tuesday. “It’s a win-win situation.”