Oxnard is following through with master plan to build five baseball/softball complexes at Sports Park, a 20-acre plot at the corner of Gonzales Road and Oxnard Boulevard next Pacifica High School that includes 5 baseball fields.
The City Council directed staff in a 4-2 vote to design Sports Park in a vacant field near Pacifica High School into softball and baseball fields, even with opposition from some residents against the action Tuesday, Jan.17.
Project manager, Samantha Shapiro walked through the plan’s highlights during the City Council Meeting.
The master plan was created to serve as a guide in making decisions for the future development and management of the city’s parks and recreation facilities.
“It assessed all the city’s parks physical amenities, recreation programs, identified services gaps and needs and developed goals, strategies and recommendations to address the identified gaps and needs,” Shapiro said.
The plan recommended creating a place for baseball and softball at the sports park to help meet the two sport’s needs and provide “passive, flexible programming space” in the outfields.
Additionally, the plan also recommended building a soccer field in the 25 acres of undeveloped space at College Park by using 11 acres of the land specifically for soccer fields.
This is to meet the community’s soccer needs such as the soccer field shortage issue by taking away some of the burden on the rest of the parks since there are approximately 250 youth soccer teams and between 50 and 60 adult teams but only eight designated soccer fields in the city, staff said in the master plan.
According to an on-site survey conducted on Sports Park Idea Day back in April of last year, ten organizations and groups from the community decided the top three uses for Sports Park should be for league/club soccer, baseball and softball. The top requested amenities were restrooms, pool, a snack bar, and parking.
The survey reflected a combined 163 votes in support of baseball and softball as top desired park usages.
However, not everyone in the meeting supported this future plan Sports Park, others wanted a recreation area that could accommodate a larger variety of sports. Some residents suggested a BMX track, a YMCA or an ice skating rink in addition to basketball courts and baseball and soccer fields.
“It’s super shortsighted to make a blanket decision on taking all of the acreage at Sports Park and designating it to one constituency,” said resident Miguel Fernandez.
Another suggestion from residents was that the city should clean the 37 current ball fields in Oxnard instead of building five additional ones.
“With 37 baseball fields and softball fields already existing, it would serve many more people if those fields were repaired and maintained,” said Wendi Cool, president of Ventura County Ice Sports, Tuesday.
Cool proposed the city to design a park that has enough space for a variety of sports. She showcased her own design for the 20-acre park that included a baseball and soccer field, an ice skating and roller rink, a YMCA, a dog park and serenity garden.
Many council members agreed with Cool that the park should incorporate multiple sports rather than just a couple.
“I can’t support the project as designed tonight,” Councilman Bert Perello said Tuesday. He and Councilman Bryan MacDonald both voted against the ball fields.
In a report, staff mentioned that the city is using $1.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan money to fund the design of Sports Park and the College Park soccer fields.
Since the city does not have sufficient funds to build the parks, assistant city manager Ashley Golden said staff will apply for grants and allocate city funds to cover construction costs.
“The design phase, which has not yet started, is expected to take about 18 months,” Golden said.