DOWNEY - Planning for a $10 million sports center on the south side of the Rancho Los Amigos campus moved forward last week, as officials from Downey and county government also guaranteed a home for the Downey Rose Float Association.
City staff has been working with the County of Los Angeles on the project, which includes five acres that the county approved for recreational use.
Two potential layouts were shown to council on Tuesday, including a three-field option and a two-field option.
Of the two, council members appeared to favor the three-field option which would include soccer fields for AYSO U12 and AYSO U8 levels of play, as well as a high school-sized field.
The two-field option would include only the two high school-sized fields.
As planning continues, council members will work to make sure that the city is getting the most use possible out of the fields that are eventually put into place. This was supported by comments made by City Manager Gilbert Livas earlier in the evening.
“Our issue here is how do we configure this and get the most use out of it,” said Livas. “In this particular instance [the three-field option] you have the U12 which is – for lack of a better word – a medium sized field that could accommodate a number of the smaller fields. You can then also dice up the high school field and get more U8’s. It just gives you a little bit more variety in terms of usage.”
There was some confusion as to what sports the center would cater to, notably brought attention to by Councilmember Alex Saab. Saab expressed desire for the center to be “more embracing of other sports.”
“We’re calling it a ‘sports center;’ I see a soccer center,” said Saab.
This was quickly countered by Community Development Director Aldo Schindler, who clarified that the high school field could be utilized for sports such as football and lacrosse in addition to soccer.
However, catering too much to other sports risked complicating the projects layout and effectiveness.
“We can, it just takes away from the soccer use,” said Schindler. “You can put in softball, baseball; but once again the configuration becomes much more challenging and you usually start to lose its primary use…the multi-use is here, it’s soccer, football, lacrosse.”
There was also a giant elephant-in-the-room that needed to be addressed: the fate of the Downey Rose Float Association’s current location.
Downey Rose Float currently resides on the south side of the Rancho campus. While nothing has been officially approved as of yet, the potential for the Rose Float to be moved lies within some of the plans presented – especially in the three-field option that council seemed to headed towards.
In those plans, the area currently inhabited by Downey Rose Float would be the site for a parking lot intended for the sports center.
However, a representative from the office of County Supervisor Janice Hahn emphasized that Hahn was committed to finding a place on the campus for the Rose Float Association should it need to be moved.