“They’re pretty spectacular, everyone in Oceanside is very pleased,” Pat Collins, a SoCal Sports Complex partner that manages the city fields, said. “They’re the highest quality grass of any facility.”
The 20 fields sit on city owned property that was once a sand mine. The land was gifted to the city by a developer.
Community workshops and committees established a master plan in 2007 that set up perimeters to make the 465 acre site a city park with some revenue producing amenities, including the sports fields.
In 2012 plans for the temporary fields were approved, and a development partnership was formed between Sudberry Properties, SoCal Sports Complex and the city.
The sand and clay soil, dotted with mining pits up to 80 feet deep, was amended and high quality grass sod was planted.
Temporary irrigation, a dirt parking lot, and portable restrooms will be used until permanent fields are developed at an undetermined future date.
The Soccer Club of Oceanside celebrated opening day of the fields. The organization serves over 2,000 Oceanside youth, and campaigned early to have soccer fields be part of the park.
Soccer coach Frank Zimmerman said he was overwhelmed when he first saw the fields, after years of planning.
The year-round soccer club will use the site as their home field, and hold team practices and games there three to five times a week.
For 20 weekends a year the fields will be rented out to tournaments. Collins said the fields are already booked through 2016. A lacrosse tournament out of Maryland will be held next weekend.
“We’re booked, we don’t need to advertise,” Collins said. “There’s not much like this around.”
Future uses for the fields include rugby, Frisbee, and company picnics. Essentially any sport, without permanent structures, that needs grassy fields.
Estimates are the fields will generate $40 million annually in related transit occupancy tax and sales in Oceanside.
Plans are to build a hotel and pool on part of the remaining park site, which will spark further income for the city.