Dos Pueblos Little Leaguers are a million-dollar step closer to saving their fields.

“Fields Forever,” a campaign designed to raise $5.9 million for the purchase of the Dos Pueblos Little League field behind the Costco shopping center, received $250,000 from the Goleta Valley Land Trust last week. The Girsh Park Foundation, a non-profit organization that owns the 13-acre park adjacent to the fields, has been working with state and county government and private agencies to raise the money, since field owner Mark Linehan announced his intent to sell two months ago.

Linehan agreed to sell the land, appraised at $6 million, to the foundation for $4 million, if the land remains as a ballpark. In May, the county granted $800,000 to the campaign.

Derek Westen, foundation president, says the Goleta Valley Land Trust’s donation will be given in two increments; $150,000 will be given immediately, and the other $100,000 will be provided when the funds are matched.

“The money and commitments so far total $1,072,200. We have only been fund raising since May 12, and we are very pleased with how it’s been going so far,” Westen said. “Our next big goal is to attain the funding from the state of California. We are working closely with Senator Jack O’Connell, who is working hard for a major grant of $4 million dollars from the state of California, and [35th District Assemblymember] Hannah-Beth Jackson is fully supporting him. If we got that money we’d be well along the way toward reaching our goal.”

According to Westen, Linehan put a limit on how much time the “Fields Forever” campaign has to obtain the money. “The seller has agreed to sell us the land for $4 million, but we have to raise $2 million by October 31 and the other half by December 31,” he said.

Last month, 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall recommended to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors that the county donate $800,000 out of South Coast West Quimby Funds, which are state funds set aside to purchase park land, Marshall said.

Marshall said although some community members are concerned that the land should be used for low-income housing, which it was originally zoned for, she was committed to maintaining their park status.

“We don’t have enough low-income housing – that’s for sure. But it was always in my mind that the land would remain ball fields,” Marshall said. “The board will continue to search for low-income housing, but the community deserves the ball fields. They’re something positive for a change.”