Youngsters filed into the new soccer arena at Collier Park on Friday morning to give County Supervisor Dianne Jacob a helping hand.
The occasion was the opening of the new soccer arena at Boys & Girls Club of Ramona. Jacob, along with the boys and girls and a few adults associated with the arena, shared the honors of cutting the big red ribbon to officially indicate the arena was ready for use.
Building the soccer arena was a joint venture between the County of San Diego and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego. The Board of Supervisors provided the majority of the funding at $372,000 from its Neighborhood Reinvestment Funds.
“This has been a passion of mine to build the best recreational facilities possible,” Jacob said. “Our kids are so important to all of us as they are the future of the community... It also helps them stay out of trouble at the same time.”
Jacob said that, over the years, the county’s Neighborhood Investment Funds has provided more than $30 million to organizations seeking “to improve their projects for kids.”
“That’s county taxpayers’ money, so it’s money coming back into your community from the county,” Jacob said.
The soccer arena also was funded by an additional $250,000 donation from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego. Its president, Danny Sherlock, credited the board of directors with raising most of the money.
“Board members raised the money or wrote the checks,” Sherlock said. “It wouldn’t be here without the support of the community of Ramona.”
The regulation-sized field with its open-air, walled arena and artificial turf, is surrounded by four sides but has no roof. Low-energy lighting will conserve resources.
There is a scoreboard for home and visitors teams and bleachers for the spectators. Special areas have been set aside for fans in wheelchairs to be able to view the games at ground level through transparent sections in the walls.
Brian Albright, director of San Diego County Parks and Recreation, called Collier Park “one of the nicest community parks in the entire county,” adding that its status as a county park preceded the County Parks and Recreation Department by 30 years. It is the oldest community park in San Diego County.
The soccer arena is another first for the County Parks and Recreation Department.
“This is the first in the county,” Albright said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun for everyone that plays on it.”
Collier Park is located on eight acres at 626 E St. The soccer arena will be maintained and operated by the Boys & Girls Club of Ramona through an agreement with the county. The arena will be available for other youth and adult soccer games by other groups.