Tracy took another step toward turning an area north of the city into a vast neighborhood of community parks and recreation sites Tuesday night.

The City Council, which is already considering a 298-acre sports park at the former Holly Sugar plant site, heard the opening gambit in negotiations with San Joaquin County regarding an adjacent 100-acre parcel.

Though negotiations were held in closed session and lasted only 20 minutes, they marked another milestone in the council's broader vision for a combined 1,200-acre swatch of city-owned property.

"In the long term, we see it being a regional entertainment and sports area," City Manager Leon Churchill said.  "There would be places for active and passive recreation, a possible wetlands and a motor sports park."

The 100-acre site east of Tracy Boulevard, which the county is currently eyeing, is among four known plans for a large chunk of the 1,200 acres, the others being:

A 400-acre motor sports park west of Tracy Boulevard.

A wetland of indeterminate acreage east of Tracy Boulevard.

The 298-acre Holly Sugar Youth Sports Park project west of Tracy Boulevard- what Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Tucker called the "crown jewel."

The latter project is "the only one coming into focus at the moment," Councilman Michael Maciel said.

The council is scheduled to meet May 18 to discuss certifying the final version of the environmental impact report on the sports complex.  Once that step is cleared, the sports complex will be on the way to meeting the goal the council set in September 2008 of having the infrastructure read by mid-2012, with completion of the fields sometime after that.

The main part of the plan would see 166 acres turned into a broad plain of more than 40 playing fields for baseball, soccer, softball and football. It would also include one football/soccer stadium complete with lighting and seating, plus four children's play areas.

Two other areas are intended for later development; an 86-acre passive recreation area and a 46-acre site for active pursuits such as skateboarding, bicycle motocross and basketball.

The city has estimated costs of $11 million for preparing the first phase of the sports park.  That amount would cover water, drainage, roads and parking, with youth sports leagues involved in the construction and maintenance of the fields.

Scully, Don. "Tracy Council Discusses Second Tract at Holly Sugar Site." Bay Area News Group, 07 Apr. 2010. Web. 09 Apr. 2010.