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Santa Monica City Officials Promise Civic Center Sports Field Will Be Built

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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

February 14, 2018 -- City Officials assured skeptical Samohi parents Tuesday night that the Civic Center sports field they have sought for more than a decade will be built.

They also said it would be on time, if not earlier, and hopefully will have adequate parking.

“Everyone on this dais is committed to getting it done as fast as fast as government can get it done,” Mayor Ted Winterer told a contingent of Santa Monica High School parents and supporters at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

After pushing for 12 years for a sports field close to Samohi, parents and other advocates finally won a commitment from the Council last summer ("Santa Monica Civic Center Playing Field Wins City Council Approval," June 29, 2017).

But the project -- slated for what is now a busy parking lot for the shuttered Civic Auditorium -- has been dogged by controversy nonetheless.

Prompting this round was a City agenda item to install message signs directing drivers to Civic Center parking structures. The idea is to cut congestion by letting motorists know which City parking structures have open spaces.

Sports-field advocates worried it works against them when the state Coastal Commission decides if there is space for the field.

Their suspicions were compounded by the City’s draft Local Coastal Plan update, which did not include the sports field.

City Manager Rick Cole said the omission has already been corrected. He also said a parking assessment of downtown, which the Coastal Commission needs to determine if there is parking for the sports field, will be completed before the new message signs are installed.

“Those concerns should be allayed,” Winterer said.

Cole also noted the $8 million multipurpose field has been pre-funded -- an unusual move for the City.

“It is 100 percent funded,” Cole said. “There will be kids playing on it.”

Construction begins in 2020.

At the request of Council Member Kevin McKeown, the City also replace references to the field as temporary. It is permanent, he noted.


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