Elk Grove News

Elk Grove moves to annex land for soccer park

Thresa McDonald applies sunscreen to her daughter, Tai, then 12, at the Cherry Island Soccer Complex in Antelope. Tai was playing for Elk Grove United in the annual Cal Cup youth soccer tournament in 2012. The Elk Grove City Council is moving to annex land to build its own sports complex to serve youth and professional soccer teams.
Thresa McDonald applies sunscreen to her daughter, Tai, then 12, at the Cherry Island Soccer Complex in Antelope. Tai was playing for Elk Grove United in the annual Cal Cup youth soccer tournament in 2012. The Elk Grove City Council is moving to annex land to build its own sports complex to serve youth and professional soccer teams. Sacramento Bee file

Elk Grove will move ahead with plans to annex county land south of the city for a sprawling soccer facility and a longshot bid to net a professional soccer team, leaders decided Wednesday night.

The city purchased the $4.4 million, 100-acre parcel at 10251 Grant Line Road near Highway 99 last fall to build the proposed Elk Grove Multi-Sport Complex. The project, estimated at $105.1 million to $117.7 million, would house as many as 16 sports fields and a 9,000-seat stadium that could be expanded to accommodate professional soccer or serve as a venue for concerts or other large events.

City staffers recommended Elk Grove annex the property, which sits in unincorporated Sacramento County, before moving forward with the project. Elk Grove will ask the Local Agency Formation Committee to include the land in the city’s sphere of influence and to coordinate the creation of environmental documents. LAFCO will take up the issues at its meeting Wednesday.

Elk Grove City Council is expected to see finance plans for the project in the next 30 to 60 days, city officials said.

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis earlier this week said the city remains committed to pursuing Major League Soccer, saying Elk Grove “will continue to be competitive until a final decision is made.”

Another blow was dealt to those chances with news late Wednesday that the NBA’s Sacramento Kings will buy a minority share in Sacramento Republic FC, the minor league soccer club that captivated the region last year on its way to a league title in its first season.

The deal, supporters say, could provide an extra boost to Sacramento’s efforts to secure an MLS franchise.

In Elk Grove on Thursday, Davis agreed, but said a downtown stadium would bump against financing hurdles that an Elk Grove site wouldn’t.

“The Kings’ involvement with the Republic is a very good sign for Sacramento’s effort to land an MLS franchise. Still, the fact remains that downtown soccer stadiums are difficult to finance. A brand-new stadium is going to be hard to finance downtown,” Davis said. “We stand ready to talk should MLS desire.”

Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

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