By Rachel Wulff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Empowering our youth to achieve and succeed was a focus of the Sacramento mayor’s State of the City address on Wednesday as he enlisted the help of an army of youth groups, non-profits and civic leaders to make it happen. A big announcement that was made was not only in the investment of their future, but the region

(credit: City of Sacramento)

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“Every day is your chance to make this city a little better,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in his address.

With crime increasing, Steinberg says the city has to keep kids off the streets. He knows sports are a way to do that but said Sacramento is lacking.

“Only 13 percent of the city’s parks or sports fields have at least one field with lights, and there are no lighted soccer fields north of the American River and one lighted field in Meadowview,” the mayor said.

That’s why when Councilwoman Mai Vang came to him with a game plan to purchase 102 acres of federal land for $12 million in south Sacramento and expand it to a regional sports park, the city went for it.

“When we secured that property early in January, I made a commitment that we would listen to the community and that whatever we develop would be a catalyst to uplift every child, every family and resident in south Sacramento,” Vang said.

The councilwoman said the community is asking for programming, facilities and civic amenities for young people — all of which can be built on the land.

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“This is vital to our community because we are saving lives,” Vang said. “Too many young people are being laid to rest by parents. Too many girls are getting caught up in sex trafficking.”

Two key players in the project

are Coach Leticia Gilmore who runs a girls’ flag football and basketball program and provides mentoring, and Coach Bam Tyron Moore who runs Sacramento Bulldogs youth football and also oversees basketball, baseball and track.

“Didn’t start off the way I wanted to but now I’m trying to get back and make everything right and trying to make sure I’m there for every child that’s in my community,” Moore said.

(credit: City of Sacramento)

Both are excited about the future, not only for kids but the entire community. The project is expected to bring in 70,000 attendees a year and $28 million in visitor spending — all of which can be reinvested to make a real difference.

“The future really is in our hands,” Steinberg said.

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The cost for the project would be $50 million. The city says it will be paid for with the expansion of the hotel occupancy tax which happened with the expansion of the convention center and the new community theatre.