49ers back off plan to use soccer fields for Levi's Stadium parking

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) -- The San Francisco 49ers admitted on Wednesday they are backing off a proposal to lease 11 acres of city land including several soccer fields that sit adjacent to Levi's Stadium for parking.

Parents had protested the plan, worried their kids wouldn't have a place to play. Now, their passionate pleas are sending the team back to the drawing board.

Soccer league officials called it a small victory for youth soccer in Santa Clara.

"Oh, absolutely. Message was received loud and clear," said parent and soccer league referee Burt Field.

Dozens of passionate parents and kids made their case in front of the city council last week.

Wednesday, 49ers officials said they were prepared to look at other options, insisting they can come up with a new plan that will please everyone.

"Right now we're, just open to having the discussions. So the proposal sits as is, but it's not going to go forward for a vote," said San Francisco 49ers COO Al Guido. "What's going to happen now is we're going to have open discussion with the community, with the council, with the staff around other possible solutions that may or may not exist."

And so, officials with Santa Clara Youth Soccer got together to brainstorm. They believe there is way for the 49ers to make everyone happy.

"The simple solution is simply to move the soccer park. Find us land in Santa Clara, work with the council, move the soccer park, have a turnkey operation," said Tino Silva, President of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League.

"I need to see action, not just words. I need to see action from the 49ers and our city council. When that happens, we'll start believing again," said Field.

The 49ers haven't ruled anything out. They say there need to be discussions about timing and dollars.

"But I think the obvious next step is, if we're going to move it...where?" asked Guido.

In addition to the cost of buying and developing new fields, Santa Clara city officials say they'll expect fair market value for the existing fields next to Levi's Stadium.

"I'm just hoping that their futher proposals include realistic proposals and not one that takes the soccer park away from the children and offers the city pennies on the dollar," said city council member Lisa Gillmor.

City council members say they plan to hold a special study session, but expect to hear more from the 49ers.

"If they're going to come to the table, they have to come with something meaningful. Otherwise, don't come back," said Gillmor.

The initial proposal offered $15 million for a 39 year lease, plus another $3 million to upgrade local school fields. A city meeting to discuss how to proceed is tentatively scheduled for May 19th.

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