Dry Creek tribe eyes baseball park
Other options also being considered for land south of Petaluma
Published: Friday, October 16, 2009 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 4:05 p.m.
The Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians is considering building a baseball stadium on 25 acres of its property just south of Petaluma, but the tribal chairman says that any venture will need to be advantageous to the tribe and the surrounding community.
“We don’t have a real plan, but we’ve been meeting with local leaders to come up with something that the community wants, and that would also be economically advantageous to the tribe,” said Harvey Hopkins.
The Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians have been contemplating several different options — including a hotel, service station or baseball stadium — on the land, but Hopkins says that no decision is imminent.
Recently, he spoke with Sonoma County Supervisor Mike Kerns about using 25 acres of commercially zoned property, part of the parcel the tribe owns along Highway 101, for a baseball stadium.
“We kicked around a couple of ideas. The community might embrace something like that, and we have some Indian baseball leagues,” Hopkins said.
Kerns said that when he met with Hopkins recently, they discussed either building a stadium for a minor league team, or a replica stadium, designed similarly to a particular Major League Baseball park, that would be used by Little League teams and adult leagues.
Kerns proposed the notion of a replica stadium to Hopkins after Onita Pellegrini, CEO of the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce, told him about one in Manteca. Such a stadium could be used for several sports, including baseball, softball, and indoor soccer and basketball, and could contain a restaurant, bar and shops, Kerns said.
Part of the land the tribe owns is being used for farming operations, but Hopkins feels that any major plans for a stadium or another venture won’t be realized until the Novato Narrows section of Highway 101 is widened and frontage roads are added.
“We won’t be doing anything until those things happen,” he said.
In 2006, the tribe applied for the land to be taken into federal trust, while asserting that it did not have any plans to build a casino. The tribe subsequently signed a binding agreement with the county that it would not build a casino on the land during an eight-year period, and Hopkins said that it has no plans to eventually try to build a casino.
Part of Kerns’ motivation in proposing a baseball stadium is to assure that a casino won’t be built. He opposes the building of any additional casinos in Sonoma County.
“My primary goal is to get something else in there,” he said. “I would like to see something that is good for the community and the area — something that people would support, and that would be economically viable for the tribe.”
(Contact Dan Johnson at email@example.com)
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