By Blake Herzog for Yuma Sun
With last month’s approval of the City of Yuma budget, construction on a $14.2M, six-field athletic complex near the Yuma Palms Regional Center is tentatively set to begin by the middle of next year.
The Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex, funded by bonds paid for by the city’s 2 percent hospitality tax, will be built on land between 8th Street and East Levee Road, and west of Pacific Avenue, between Pacific Avenue and Rio Vista Drive.
Officials, said the regulation baseball/softball fields at the complex will become an economic driver for the city, drawing regional tournaments which can’t be fully accommodated by the fields around Desert Sun Stadium.
Linda Morgan, executive director of the Yuma Visitors Bureau, said at the June 3 meeting the bureau surveyed other cities around the state to determine the impact of weekend youth and adult tournaments, which would be drawn to a facility like the PAAC, and found a 50-team tournament, with 15 players per team, would have an economic impact of $712,000 over a three-day weekend, assuming each player and family coming from out of town spends $900 to $1,000 in the local economy.
City Parks and Recreation Director Deborah Wendt added that adult tournaments tend not to draw as many visitors and money to the city, but can offer a lift to certain sector of the economy, especially bars and other drinking establishments.
Wendt said the planned complex has the support of the Cecil Fielder Baseball Legends tournament, which has an event in Yuma every December which generates an estimated $783,000 in economic impact, and the Amateur Softball Association, which wants to have the city run a new event for them.
The current design for the 49-acre park calls for six ballfields, seating, restrooms, concession stands to be operated by the city, landscaping and an irrigation lake. Future additions, including batting cages, more parking and additional concessions, depend on how much Phase I costs and how much additional money can be found through grants or other sources for Phase II.
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