Sacramento planners don’t want to fence soccer club in

Sacramento Republic FC eyes chain-link security feature at proposed railyards stadium, but city thinks it’s major league ugly

This is an extended version of a story that ran in the September 15, 2016, issue.

As development of the long-dormant railyards finally takes shape, a security measure intended to enclose a proposed stadium has divided city officials and the local soccer club that hopes to enter the major leagues.

Sacramento Republic FC, which currently plays at Bonney Field as a member of the United Soccer League, wants to use the planned stadium to become a Major League Soccer team. It’s discussed putting a temporary chain-link fence on the west exterior side of the facility on game days for security purposes. But city officials aren’t fond of the idea.

“Staff has got issues with a portable chain-link fence surrounding this beautiful facility,” Bruce Monighan, urban design manager for the city, told the city’s planning and design commission on September 8.

Outer fences aren’t necessarily commonplace for stadiums. Raley Field for the Sacramento River Cats, for instance, allows anyone to walk to its entrance gates, though it only allows ticket-holders inside the stadium.

Jeff Dorso, an attorney representing Sac Republic, said chain-link fences may become more commonplace. “It’s not presently a requirement for MLS, but you’re seeing a lot of sports leagues making that a requirement,” he told the commission.

The team will also have an inner, “secured perimeter” directly around the stadium.

The commission took no action, but expressed some reservations.

“I think the issues on the fence are clear,” said Commissioner Alan LoFaso. “What are we trying to accomplish and how can we make it look good?”

A spokeswoman declined to make Sac Republic FC officials available for interview. Monighan, Rich and Dorso didn’t immediately respond to SN&R requests for comment.

The fence could be decided in the coming weeks. Richard Rich, the city’s railyards project manager, told the commission his group will present at least 23 entitlements on October 20, as well as a final environmental report, development agreement, and financing plan for the stadium.

Roads opened to the public at the railyards development last month.