By Eileen Samitz
Last Sunday on June 28th, two articles appeared in our local newspaper regarding the proposal of a sports complex which were particularly disturbing. The concept of a sports complex has been proposed in the past, and the subsequent discussions raised the many problems that would come with it, including the financial burden and the negative impacts. Yet, somehow this issue seems to be resurrected periodically, even though our City continues to face significant financial problems.
In the late 1990’s the Covell Center project was proposed and tried to lure the community into its mega-housing project by offering an 80-acre sports complex at Covell Blvd. and Pole Line. The City studies revealed that the sports complex which not only would bring impacts such as un-mitigatable traffic, but night lighting and loud public address systems impacting the many neighborhoods in north and east Davis. In addition, its financial infeasibility would result in the Davis community carrying the long term costs of the sport complex. The feasibility study done at the time suggested financial solutions such as selling alcoholic beverages and tournaments from outside the city virtually every week, to try to bring in some additional funding to attempt to support the enormous and growing financial burden.
Now, despite this history and the many reasons why a sports complex does not belong in this vicinity of the already highly impacted intersection of Covell Blvd. and Pole Line Road, comes another bad idea of considering locating it on the former City landfill site which has toxics issues. The former City dump (aka landfill site) is a 101-acre parcel located off Pole Line Road a little south of the PV USA solar panels, not far from the more northern Moore Ave. intersection coming from Wildhorse.
First, and of most of concern is the health, welfare, and safety of the children who would be playing sports on a toxic landfill site. The toxics were revealed in City’s own studies. In addition, the incompatibility of the traffic, night lighting, and public address system noise issues would cause impacts far beyond the immediate neighborhoods to the east, west, and south. This why a sports complex proposed at this site can only raise major opposition by the many neighborhoods to be impacted by the proposed sports complex.
In addition, another major concern is that it sounds like there is an implied potential to include this expensive sports complex to be ”piggy-backed” onto a possible special tax for repairs of roads and our community pools and possibly other City capital infrastructure repair and mantainence cost shortfalls. The current estimate of $24 million just to build the sports complex is staggering, and this does not even include long-term maintenance and operational costs! I hope that any thoughts of attempting to “roll in” a sports complex into a special tax which is supposed to fix our damaged roads and community pools will be abandoned by our City Council soon. Otherwise, this tax will be opposed by many Davis citizens, including me. It is unreasonable for the City to entertain the concept of adding a sports complex to our existing financial burdens when we cannot even afford to fix our roads and community pools. Not only would the cost be astronomical to build the sports complex, but the financial burden to operate it would grow over the years, as well as the traffic, night lighting, and noise impacts.
Please urge the City Council at this Tuesday’s, July 7th City Council meeting and by email to oppose any sports complex proposal on the toxic former City landfill site, and to oppose its inclusion in any future infrastructure repair tax proposal. For more information please call me at 756-5165 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eileen M. Samitz