Aquatics to Wrestling Facilities Discussed at Town Hall Meeting for Proposed Elk Grove Sports Complex

Last night's Elk Grove Town Hall meeting on a proposed sports and entertainment complex drew a large engaged audience to city hall to d...

Last night's Elk Grove Town Hall meeting on a proposed sports and entertainment complex drew a large engaged audience to city hall to discuss what shape the facility should take.
Sportsplex USA president Bill Berghoff explains revenue sharing

Organized by the Elk Grove Community Connection (EGCC) and conducted as an official city council meeting, the purpose of the meeting was to gather input from the community and discuss possible starting points for the facility. Part of the discussion included a presentation by a sports complex operator that focuses on baseball facilities.

In his opening remarks Elk Grove City Council Member Gary Davis noted EGCC’s efforts in organizing the event to bring the public and city together. “When the public gets together with the city, we always end up with a better product in the end,” he said.

Council member Jim Cooper, who has long been involved in softball with his daughters, said the sports complex is a great economic opportunity for the city. A self-described “softball freak,” Cooper noted the money his family has spent at various locations throughout the country and said Elk Grove could attract the same type of revenue.

“I am very excited to be here,” Cooper said. “This is huge.”

Swimmers, wrestlers lacking facilities

After a brief overview of the proposed sports complex as it relates to the proposed Elk Grove Civic Center by Elk Grove City Manager Laura Gill, the audience heard a presentation by Sportsplex USA. An operator of sports facilities that is operates on behalf of several cities in Southern California, Sportsplex facilities have been visited recently by members of EGCC and the Elk Grove City Council.

SportsPlex USA representatives Bill Berghoff and Sean Melvin explained their company manages facilities owned by municipalities and pays cities between five and seven percent of gross revenues. They also emphasized the facility would attract large tournaments that would bring additional revenues to the city from increased restaurants and hotels sales taxes.

During the question and answer session, council members and a special discussion panel fielded many questions and comments ranging from the need for more aquatic facilities for Elk Grove’s burgeoning swimmers to the lack of facilities for area high school wrestlers. While the proposed sports center is focused primarily on baseball fields, audience members also suggested lacrosse and soccer fields should be part of the complex.

One of those urging the addition of aquatic facilities was Laguna Creek High School Assistant Swimming Coach Brenda Smart who said there is a dearth of pools for swimmers to practice and compete in the area. “We have nowhere for our kids to swim,” she noted.

Davis noted that the general plan for the sports complex has set aside three to five acres for an aquatic center.

In their closing comments Mayor Steve Detrick and council members Cooper and Davis expressed thanks to the participants for their constructive ideas and emphasized this is only the starting point.

“Everything is on the table,” Cooper said. “There are some really good ideas.”

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