May 23, 2017
BROOKS, CA (May 23, 2017) – The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is providing $1.5 million to complete the Esparto Community Park & Aquatic Center. This donation is the first from the “compact credits” now available under Yocha Dehe’s 2016 gaming compact with the State of California.
“We wanted to be sure our local community is the first to be supported by the “compact credits,” which are a powerful new investment tool,” said James Kinter, Yocha Dehe Tribal Secretary. “Many people have worked hard for years to make the Esparto Community Park & Aquatic Center project a reality, and we are pleased to help bring it to completion.”
In 2012, the project received a $2.89 million grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation for construction. Concerns over resources for maintenance and operations slowed progress until the local community, including Yocha Dehe, created and funded an endowment. Area residents also approved a Proposition 218 property tax assessment to assist in covering ongoing costs.
In 2016, environmental challenges on the original project site threatened added delays. In response, a new 8.6 acre site adjacent to Esparto High School was identified. The center will feature a community pool, basketball court, two soccer/football fields, softball/little league field, walking trail and picnic areas.
“The Tribe’s remarkable gift of $1.5 million will provide amenities for the park such as a pedestrian bridge over Lamb Valley Slough, picnic tables, bleachers, lighting and other park amenities identified during area meetings,” said Trini Campbell, a partner in Riverdog Farm. “This park project is the culmination of the concerted efforts of many partners working together for over a decade to build new recreation opportunities for the residents of the region.”
The “compact credits” that are the source of the Yocha Dehe funding were a key provision in its new tribal-state gaming compact negotiated in 2016. Using “compact credits,” the Tribe can specifically allocate a portion of the annual payments it makes to the State directly to select projects and initiatives in the local community.