On November 18, 2014 the Salinas City Council unanimously approved the 68-acre soccer complex proposed by the non-profit Salinas Regional Sports Authority (SRSA).
Consisting of 21 tournament-quality outdoor fields, one indoor field, an indoor health and learning center, and multiple recreational facilities, the complex will expand upon the existing fields at Constitution Boulevard and East Laurel Drive, and include perimeter walking trails and exercise paths in addition to playgrounds and picnic areas.
Additional planned features include two lit synthetic turf fields, a Celebration Plaza, and 2,000-capacity stadium seating.
One of the goals of the soccer complex is to engage youth in soccer and other recreational activities to promote health and prevent negative choices and gang involvement.
A number of supporters were present for the council decision, including community members from Community Organized for Power in Action, as well as youth leaders from the Center for Community Advocacy, and members from the CSUMB Watershed Institute’s “Return of the Natives” project. Supporters received an address of gratitude from SRSA Vice President Alex Reynoso, who expressed that the vision of the project was to create a complex to better serve the city of Salinas and its community:
“In 2008 we began this journey when local folks got together with then Mayor Dennis Donahue and ‘Imagined a Great City’. One of many goals of that campaign was to develop economic opportunities and help generate community sports assets in Salinas and Monterey County. Thankfully, Mayor Gunter and the current City Council stuck with the mission. Tonight is proof that through your leadership and community engagement we can achieve great things for Salinas.”
The project received additional support in the fall of 2013, when the U.S. Soccer Foundation, a major charitable organization supporting U.S. soccer, awarded SRSA a $200,000 grant. The U.S. Soccer Foundation has provided more than $59 million in funding to youth development programs in underserved and urban communities.
Next steps in the soccer complex project are creating construction documents which will be submitted to the Salinas Building Department when complete, a competitive bidding process by construction companies, and a capital campaign to raise $5.8 million for the first construction phase of the project.