Marin IJ: April 24, 2016

Novato residents dissatisfied with studies on Hamilton sports complex

A proposed sports complex in Novato would sit on a 55-acre tract, above, in the Hamilton area. (IJ photo/Alan Dep)
A proposed sports complex in Novato would sit on a 55-acre tract, above, in the Hamilton area. (IJ photo/Alan Dep)

“It confirms what we’ve been suggesting all along,” said Mike Shapiro, a member of the development team and the owner of the San Rafael Pacifics baseball team. “That is that a proposed sports park — it’s desperately needed for use in the community to provide adequate facilities which right now can’t supply all the demand there is.”

Hamilton resident Alan Berson, also with Preserve Novato, said he believes the report is shortsighted in that it only looks at fields in Novato, and not in nearby cities.

“No additional ways are provided on how to further fulfill the sports field needs,” he said. “Nothing is devoted to describing nearby fields.”

According to visitation projections provided by the Sports Management Group, within its second year, the sports park would be estimated to receive 201,540 visits a year, with 91,250 people a year visiting the community park. Sixty-four percent of visits at the sports and community parks are calculated by the group to be from Novato residents.


Based on projected usage, the park would also have an economic impact to the city, according to an economic and fiscal impact report conducted by Victus Advisors of Park City, Utah.

With no nighttime lighting, the project would bring in up to 223 jobs and an estimated $252,690 in tax revenue a year for the city, according to the report. A total $21 million in additional annual spending would occur in the city.

Of the jobs created, many of them would be minimum wage jobs, Brown said, but even outside of the park, spending would increase.

“There would be additional restaurant spending, hotel spending,” he said. “There’d be an uptick in the need of employment.”

Shapiro said the park would be a win-win for local youth and the city.

“The proposed park brings tremendous economic incremental, economic benefits to the community that we have been saying is good for everyone,” he said. “It helps the kids with additional fields and community with additional economic impact.”


O’Neil McKenzie said the economic study does not factor in the additional city services that would be required if the park were built.

“It doesn’t take into full account different aspects such as water and sewer, police and fire,” she said.

She said it also does not look at how quality of life would be diminished for Hamilton residents who live near the complex.

Resident Sue Lattanzio said the studies show the benefits the park would provide to all, but it does not focus on it being be a pay-to-play complex.

“The public or city has zero control over the 55-acre commercial sports complex, stadium and what will actually be built,” she said.

The original application for the sports complex, proposed off Hamilton Parkway, behind the city’s skate park, was filed last June, after a March 2015 submission was said to be incomplete.

The park is proposed for property owned by the U.S. Army on the former air base and would be partially built on the former base landfill. The applicants obtained a perpetual easement from the Army to develop the site, which has been identified as suitable for recreation, Brown said.

The revised project application is expected to be submitted in the near future, Shapiro said. Revisions to the plan include nighttime lighting not being proposed for the complex and a 1,000-seat ballfield reduced to 500 seats.

“I can’t say the exact date, what we’re trying to do is continue to have a number of discussions with people so we can optimize the value of the project,” he said. “We anticipate it should be prepared and revised shortly. We hope to move that process along.”