BY CHRIS SHANNON
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
“PLAY BALL!” was the message at today’s groundbreaking celebration of the new North Natomas Regional Park ball fields.
“Today is a long time coming,” Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby told the crowd of approximately 100 parents and children. “Natomas has waited, and waited, and waited for this regional park to take shape, take effect, get going, get moving.”
The complex will become the central home to the North Natomas Little League, a growing league of over 1,000 baseball and softball players who currently play at various schools and parks. With the league growing year by year, it came as no surprise which part of the park community members wanted to see developed first.
“The community itself selected which part of the project they wanted to see happen first and it was baseball diamonds,” said Ashby.
Ashby said the $5 million needed to pay for the complex came from north Natomas taxpayers in the form of park impact fees. The money generated by these fees can only be used on park infrastructure.
“I’m glad that Angelique clarified that we didn’t find some new pot of money in order to pay for this park,” City Manager John Shirey said. “You did it yourselves, and that’s the kind of partnership that we need to think about in a lot of different respects in terms of how we make our city go.”
The first phase calls for three diamonds to be constructed scheduled to be finished in time for the 2013 spring season. Two more diamonds will be added in the second phase.
“It’s very exciting seeing this expanse of land finally turning into park,” said Councilmember Steve Cohn. “Getting people out using it; I’m really excited.”
Added Ashby: “It will give us a central location so that as parents you can meet each other, you can watch two kids at once.”