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Imagine the possibilities that a sports complex in Lodi would open

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Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:00 am

I would like to begin a discussion of a sports complex in Lodi. Communities such as Morgan Hill have built soccer complexes, boosting business for local restaurants and hotels.

Our sports culture today in the U.S. is built around traveling competitive sports teams.

We are entering a period in the U.S. of tremendous economic growth, and The Economist magazine predicts that the U.S. is back in 2014 and will leave the rest of the world behind by 2020. If this is even remotely true, I think that it is time to start the discussion and preliminary planning of sports complexes in Lodi — which would benefit local businesses.

In a perfect world, we would save and build such a project with our surplus. But voters always want a tax rebate when there is a surplus. Other communities have accomplished a sports complex through municipal bonds. Another possibility is local industry sponsoring such a project. A joint effort between industry and the city of Lodi is ideal.

Instead of pushing out and knocking down more of our pristine farmland, I recommend smart growth within our city. An example: If the city of Lodi could manage to obtain the land on Stockton and Sacramento streets between Turner Road and Pine Street, we could build rows of fields using the Grape Bowl as the anchor for premier games. We could have an Olympic-sized pool and diving center built next to the parking structure, and possibly have a bicycle velodrome in the plan.

I have spent too many hours between games sitting in a lawn chair waiting for the next game with nothing to do but read the Economist. Imagine the possibilities in Lodi with our great blend of Downtown businesses.

I believe that Jeff Hood, with Parks and Recreation, has seen enough of the U.S. in his travels to have a vision for this project. Maybe he already has begun the discussion.

Greg Wright

Economics teacher

Lodi High School

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