Can ‘Sports of Kings’ come to this East Bay city? – Mercury News.

Oakley-like mounds gallop in a field where malt-riders ride, well-watered drinkers sip expensive wine and watch action from tents where luxury car manufacturers and other companies manufacture their advanced equipment ۔

This is the scene that a polo enthusiast painted for Oakley City Council members last month as he tried to control their chances of hosting a tournament called “Game of Kings”.

“Polo is the most expensive sport in the world,” said Claude Alex Bertrand, a resident of Oakley. Should be included.

The city agreed in May 2019 to create a regional park on 55 acres of undeveloped land at the northern end of Sellers Avenue, a ف 60-60 million multi-phase project that has yet to break ground.

As currently conceived, the park will feature a wide range of features such as numerous ball fields, trails, picnic areas and a playground. On the map of the area, a legend, informally known as Oakley Regional Park, also lists a boat house, a paddock, a 4-H juvenile farm animal, a community garden, a basketball court and a cake. Can be used for launch. These are just some of the goal setting shareware that you can use.

The project will also include the restoration of Gilbert House, a historic structure of the property that was built in the early 1900s.

Earlier this year, the city applied for a state grant of about 8 88 million to install three baseball fields and parking spaces in the first phase.

Bertrand, who was born in Haiti, hopes that Oakley will incorporate his dream of polo field into the later stages of the project.

Although many other residents have weighed in on how they want to use the park over the years, Bertrand has proposed an additional feature for the first time since the city made the project public two years ago.

He founded a polo team that represents his home country in international competitions and is currently the publisher of a magazine for people who lead a professional polo-style high-flying lifestyle.

He predicts that at the end of the year, one or two weekends, the tournament will be held in a field inside the park, which he predicts will attract thousands of spectators and local hotels and Along with the restaurants, there will be significant revenue for the city. One sponsor wanted the venue to be named after him.

“I thought to myself, why do we always go to the rich suburbs whose income is already enough to host these tournaments?” Bertrand asked rhetorically. “The world’s elite is going to play polo regardless. We are trying to get a piece of this pie and bring it here.

Vice Mayor Randy Pope took an interest in the idea and acknowledged that the polo tournament could fulfill the local equestrian community’s desire to preserve Oakley’s equestrian heritage. Bertrand added that when not in use for field matches, it could be available for football, baseball and soccer games, as well as horse owners’ show jumping competitions.

Councilman Aaron Meadows said he was ready to pursue the idea as long as the city benefited and wanted to see a business plan. Bertrand indicated that he could estimate the estimated revenue that Polo would generate for the city’s treasury or provide examples of how other venues have benefited from hosting the tournament.

Despite the overwhelming response to his proposal from most council members, Oakley resident Lindsay Waters expressed skepticism.

“I like the idea, I like the great idea of ​​what we can bring to Oakley,” he said before criticizing the city’s priorities.

Oakley doesn’t have enough firefighters, Water said, and developers aren’t willing to spend money on maintaining routes like East Cyprus Road. He added that such needs should come before polo.

Resident Liz Elias weighed in with an obscure thumb.

“I’m not sure it needs Oakley. It caters to the elite mentality,” he said, adding that only the rich own a polo pony. “We are not Lafayette, Morga, Dan Will or any other community that works well.”

Elias added that residents would be better served by activities accessible to all. He suggested that the city consider building facilities such as a water park, municipal pool, indoor skating rink or community theater.

“There are a lot of better options,” he said.

Council members agreed that city staff members should gather more information about the idea and report their findings.

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