The idea sounded great. Get a private partner to take an underutilized space in Ventura County’s largest city and build replica baseball stadiums. The site could become an anchor for youth sports and community recreation in Oxnard, where parkland is rare and buildable space vanishes faster than you can say Field of Dreams.
Five years after Cathedral City-based Big League Dreams approached city officials about building ballparks in Oxnard’s College Park, few details exist about how much such a plan would cost. Now, City Councilman Tim Flynn wants to know why.
Flynn — who has opposed the Big League Dreams Proposal since shortly after he was elected in 2004 — filed a public records request June 8 demanding records of a consulting contract that was commissioned in the fall of 2006. The move came after City Manager Edmund Sotello and other staff refused previous requests by Flynn for the study.
Oxnard’s city council and mayor had directed Sotello to put together two plans: One for a park run by the city, and one for a park run by Big League Dreams. Sotello hired RJM Design Group Inc., a San Juan Capistrano-based consulting firm to conduct the study. Despite his opposition to Big League Dreams, Flynn voted in support of the study after fellow Councilman Dean Maulhardt persuaded him that it was just a study.
June 18 to respond to Flynn’s public records request, but he told the Reporter that he may have to deny the request. The study is still a work in progress, Sotello said, and his staffers are busily working with RJM to prepare final numbers and other information that will be presented publicly at a city council meeting in the first or second week of July.
“Right now it’s a work in progress,” Flynn said. “Depending on how this information is put together, I may be able to release it.”
Flynn wants to see the report earlier because he said he and other council members may need more than a few days to prepare for any decisions about the park. He saw some preliminary figures a few months into the study. He said he is unhappy with some of the findings he saw, including projections that the Big League Dreams proposal would cost $48 million to build and bring little money back into city coffers.
Those figures can not be confirmed until the report is made public one way or another. Flynn wants them made public sooner than three days before a city council meeting on the matter.
“Information is power,” he said. “It’s a really shameful day for the city of Oxnard that they not only withheld this from me, but from the public.”