SANTA CRUZ -- The Santa Cruz Warriors have a new nickname: the Hunger Warriors.
The team's president announced Monday that the NBA Development League team is partnering with local nonprofit Grind Out Hunger to help provide meals for thousands of families in Santa Cruz County.
Through funding from Plantronics, Grind Out Hunger will have 60 reserved seats at every Warriors game for the next three years, said team President Jim Weyermann and Grind Out Hunger Founder Danny Keith. Many of the seats will be sold through the organization, with all proceeds from those tickets going to Grind Out Hunger and its partner, Second Harvest Food Bank. Some of the seats will be given to children within the community who "need something positive in their lives," Keith said.
For Weyermann, the opportunity to partner with Grind Out Hunger represents exactly the type of community relationships he hopes the team's presence will foster. The team's first home game is scheduled for Dec. 23.
"Our goal is to provide at least 80,000 meals" a year, Weyermann said Monday, accompanied by the team's players at Grind Out Hunger's 41st Avenue headquarters.
The team also will take part in food drives and other fundraising events for Grind Out Hunger, which has collected more than 1.5 million meals for local families since 2003.
Monday marked the first public appearance of all of the team's members, who joined basketball players from Santa Cruz High School to practice drills after the announcement.
Meanwhile, construction of the team's new 30,000-square-foot facility at 140 Front St. continues as local lawmakers weigh a new parking plan associated with the temporary arena.
Under the plan proposed by the Public Works Department, the city will designate 375 spaces in seven garages or lots downtown and near the arena for pre-paid parking offered to season ticket holders and add 49 new parking meters in the area and change the rates at others. The City Council will consider the plan during its 3 p.m. meeting Tuesday.
The pre-paid parking will be offered to season ticket holders for $5-$10 depending on the proximity to the arena. The team estimates selling 1,100 season tickets for the 2,900-seat arena, and that there would be about three ticket holders per vehicle, thus requiring about 375 spaces.
The new parking meters would be placed on Lower Front, Spruce and Sycamore streets and would be in force from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a two-hour variable rate. The first two hours will be at 50 cents per hour and the third and fourth at $1. The cost will be $2 for every hour after the fourth hour.
The city also would convert meters on lower Pacific Avenue from Center to Spruce streets to two-hour variable meters and charge 75 cents per hour for the first two hours, then $1.25 each for the third and fourth hour, and $2 for every hour after that. Other meters on Center, Washington, Chestnut that are already 75 cents per hour and meters on Spruce and Laurel Street Extension that are 50 cents per hour will be converted to variable rates.
The cost of the new meters and staffing for pre-paid parking lots is estimated at $82,000. The city expects the cost to be offset by $40,000 in new revenue from meters and as much as $65,000 in pre-paid parking revenue.
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To purchase Santa Cruz Warriors tickets through Grind Out Hunger:
Stop by the organization's headquarters at 912 41st Ave. in Pleasure Point or visit www.grindouthunger.org.