April 14, 2024
'Dream Courts' geared for youths, young adults who play basketball, volleyball and more

Basketball and volleyball enthusiasts will likely be happy to know that Pittsburg has broken ground on what is being billed as the largest indoor recreational gymnasium in the region.

The city, in partnership with Discovery Homes, marked the event with a celebration last week at John Henry Johnson Park on West Leland Road where the new 45,000-square-foot multi-court sports complex will be constructed. Dubbed “Dream Courts,” it’s the first public facility of its kind to be built in many decades in the city.

“I am thrilled to see the construction of the Dream Courts begin,” Pittsburg Mayor Shanelle Scales-Preston. “This project headlines the immense efforts of my colleagues on the City Council and I to bring new opportunities to the youth and young adults in our Pittsburg community.”

The mayor said the center will be “capable of serving the recreation needs of all of Pittsburg, with the ability to host basketball leagues and tournaments, volleyball, dance, cheer, pickleball, camps, clinics, birthday parties, and so much more.”

Having grown up in Pittsburg, Sales-Preston talked about her experiences spending time at community centers, including the small downtown Marina Center, which re-opened earlier this year after being used as a sheriff’s training center for 20 years.

“These places gave me an outlet, and not only through playing sports, but also in building relationships and learning teamwork and leadership skills I still use to this day,” she said.

A longtime supporter of programs that expand recreational opportunities for youth, the mayor added that the center was “long overdue.”

“We (Pittsburg council members) have pushed for creative ways to enhance the experiences of our community, driving long-term economic development, and building a quality of life that is second-to-none,” she said.

Jelani Killings, Pittsburg council member, said the Dream Courts represent the city’s commitment “to providing safe and inspiring spaces where our youth can develop their talents, build character and pursue their dreams.”

The city is hoping the new sports complex will attract tournaments and visitors from all over the West Coast and help drive economic development, the mayor said.

Pittsburg Mayor Shanelle Scales-Preston, at right, watches with others as the city and Discovery Homes breaks ground on a new $9 million indoor sports complex at John Henry Johnson Park on West Leland Road. (City of Pittsburg) 

Wolfgang Croskey, CEO of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, concurred.

“We are excited about the potential that the Discovery Homes Dream Courts bring to Pittsburg,” Croskey said. “Not only will this complex boost our city’s sports infrastructure, but it will also create jobs, promote wellness, and be a hub of community events and gatherings.”

The city first approved Concord-based Seeno/Discovery Homes’ then-$3 million plan to build the state-of-the-art recreation complex in 2020, an agreement contingent on the city’s approval of 1,500 new homes in the city’s southwest hills. The developer agreed to design and build the center and the city agreed to waive all impact, plan review and building permit fees related to its construction.

But in January of 2022, the Planning Commission denied Discovery Homes’ application to build the center, saying it wasn’t consistent with parts of the city’s general plan. The council later overturned the denial, giving the developer the OK to move forward with the sports complex.

Since its original approval, though, materials and construction costs skyrocketed, and the city in June agreed to use $5.75 million of federal American Rescue Grant Act funds it received to close the gap in funding. Under the agreement, the city will run the programs but the developer will retain ownership for the first 10 years after which it would be required to sell it to the city for one dollar.

Louis Parsons, president of Discovery Homes, called the project “monumental.”

“Discovery Homes Dream Courts exemplifies the city’s commitment to providing recreational opportunities for Pittsburg residents and is rooted in the belief of creating spaces that bind communities together,” he said. “We are proud to participate in bringing this exciting recreational amenity to the city of Pittsburg.”

The sports complex is expected to take about a year to complete, according to city reports.

Albert Seeno III and Louis Parsons of Discovery Homes presents renderings at a groundbreaking on Sept. 26, 2023, of the planned 45,000-square-foot multi-court the company is building at John Henry Johnson Park in Pittsburg. (City of Pittsburg) 
Albert Seeno III of Discovery Homes, left, along with Pittsburg dignitaries, including Mayor Shanelle Scales-Preston, breaks ground on Sept. 26, 2023, at a new 45,000-square-foot multi-court sports center the company plans to build at John Henry Johnson Park in Pittsburg (City of Pittsburg).