Its been a busy first part of Spring! I am so excited to have annouced my involvment with Bexar County in developing the business plan for 13 new or revamped sports facilities for San Antonio. Here is a run down of the announcements and recommendations if you are interested in whats soon to come!!
1. Our committee’s top recommendation is the UTSA Athletic Complex. 20 years from now, a top-tier, Div. I athletic program will do for our community what the Spurs have over the last 20 years. In the short-term, the International Track & Field Stadium and the International Soccer Stadium will have the greatest tourist impact.
2. The Regional Soccer & Special Needs Park – better known as the “Hartman Project” – is our second ranked recommendation. The 15 full-
sized fields, when combined with the 12 fields in the Classics Elite/McAllister Park soccer complex, produces a 27-field complex capable of hosting national (and even international) tournament play. In our ROI analysis, soccer is the best tourism investment San Antonio can make. The Special Needs Park should speak for itself. San Antonio has built 3 dog-parks, but has yet to build a Special Needs Park.
3. Ranked third from our committee is the National Aquatics Center at Northside ISD’s Farris Athletic Complex. USA Swimming, the National Governing Body for swimming, has given this project its strongest endorsement. Their Executive Director told us that we can conservatively plan on hosting five (5), large, state, regional and national events per year. These events top out at 1200 families in town for 9 days!
4. Our committee ranked Brooks Soccer Park as our fourth priority. This would be the first tournament-quality soccer facility on the south side. When completed, it will have 14, full-sized fields, only one less than the Hartman complex.
5. Fifth on our list is the Mission Concepcion Athletic Complex. Given the financial realities of a $75m cap, our committee generally focused on outdoor facilities, because the dollar goes farther. Unfortunately, this process left the indoor sports largely untouched, but not at Mission Concepcion. Here we will have the only indoor facility in San Antonio with 6 basketball/12 volleyball courts under one roof. More important, there is a plan for expansion to 12 basketball/24 volleyball courts in the future!
6. The Culebra Creek Soccer Complex will be the largest soccer park in Bexar County. The 14 new fields added to the existing 8 at the ACYSO Park will result in a 22-field complex in the heart of the exploding NW San Antonio.
7. The Wheatley Heights Sports Complex is unique and surprising. It is our only football-focused project! The Wheatley Heights Sports Complex will focus on a fast-pitch softball tournament 4-plex, an international track with a championship football field, football practice and tournament fields, a large soccer practice area, a driving range and a (future) par-3 golf course.
8. Our eighth recommendation is the already mentioned Classics Elite soccer addition, which the committee viewed in conjunction with the “Hartman Project”. This addition is 5, new fields in McAllister Park. When added to their existing 7 and the 15 fields in the “Hartman Complex”. NE San Antonio will have 27 tournament-quality fields within a 4-mile radius.
9. Southeast Skyline Park has been a fixture in southeast San Antonio. Built over a landfill at the far north end of Southside Lions Park and adjacent to Highlands High School, Southeast Skyline has served generations of southeast San Antonio boys and girls. This renovation and addition will replace a target for repeated vandalism with a beautiful, 7-field Pony League complex.
10. The Outdoor Sports Complex at St. Mary’s University can have the same impact on Div. II sports that the UTSA project can have on Div. I sports. Additionally, they are matching County dollars at slightly more than a 1:1 rate and they have plans in place for daily programs involving neighborhood youth.
11. The McAllister Park Little League Park will bring 10 new baseball fields to NE Bexar County. Currently, the McAllister Park Little League is built in the McAllister flood plain. With the recent completion of the dam, the existing fields are frequently unusable or destroyed. The Parks and Rec Department has encouraged ALL sports to “move to higher ground”. This will get McAllister Little League to higher ground, add much-needed capacity, and bring the complex up to tournament standards so that McAlister Little League can host tournaments both at the end of their season and for other organizations during their off-season.
12. San Antonio has a long history in fencing beginning with Lt. George Patton’s Olympic preparation. We have produced many Olympians and currently have the top-ranked woman epee fencer heading into Beijing. Before 9-11, many youth sports were headquartered on our military bases (soccer, judo, fencing, air pistol, etc.). After 9-11, our children and families lost access to those facilities. The Texas Fencing Center will not only keep fencing alive in Bexar County, it will take it to another level as the only, dedicated fencing facility in Texas. If built to plan, it will host 10 regional and 5 national competitions annually.
13. Our final recommendation is the SA Missions Baseball Academy. The Missions will build, manage and program the only adult (15 and older) 4-plex in Texas. As first-mover in baseball, this will give Bexar County a terrific advantage in tournament hosting. Additionally, having the best major-league coaching available to Bexar County boys and girls opportunities that even the Astros and Rangers aren’t creating in their communities.