Chula Vista is uniquely positioned to become a youth sports tourism hub for the southwestern United States.
Already well known for its youth talent, Chula Vista offers available land for the development of tournament facilities and world-class training venues for youth sports. Not only could these facilities provide access to local athletes, but they would also draw elite coaches and boost economic development benefitting parks and recreation facilities for all residents.
This vision for a sports “mega city” expands on our local healthy lifestyle initiative by encouraging activity and enhancing the mental, emotional and physical wellness of our citizens. Sports and recreation are woven into the fabric of our community culture and history with Little League World Series championships and generations of Chula Vista families committed to involvement in youth sports.
Our city can use these new facilities to host recreational youth tournaments and events and continue the momentum of attracting individuals dedicated to sporting excellence. A new sports complex will also complement the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, a place dedicated to the development of elite performance for U.S. men’s and women’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
The infrastructure necessary to build a world-class sports mega city can be achieved through public-private partnership. Land is available throughout the city for new housing, and developers building master-planned communities are required, as a condition of their development plans, to pay for and develop parks and recreation facilities.
These will draw tourists and provide training and tournament capacity that will generate the revenue necessary for maintenance and operating costs. Currently, parks and recreation costs compete with public safety and other general-fund budget demands.
Providing for the development of a sports mega city addresses competition for scarce resources, becomes a source of revenue for the city and benefits complementary private-sector businesses.
Chula Vista has the land, local support and culture necessary to build a youth sports mega city. We need to capture this opportunity before the city is completely built out.
We can become a community that thrives on excellence in athletic training. The concept of youth sports tourism creates a balance that benefits the city, residents and visitors by encouraging a healthy lifestyle, revitalizing the local economy and developing aspiring athletes for generations to come.
Rudy Ramirez is a former city councilman and current candidate for mayor. Anwar Nash is active in Chula Vista youth sports