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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL
FROM: CITY MANAGER
DATE: JUNE 29, 2004
SUBJECT: NOTES FROM THE JUNE 5, 2004 VISITS TO POTENTIAL GIRLS’ SOFTBALL FIELD SITES
On Saturday June 5, 2004 the City Council toured the six sites identified by Staff as potential locations for two or more Girl’s softball fields. The purpose of the visits was to become more familiar with the properties identified as potential sites, to better understand how the fields could be arranged on the site and to receive comments from the nearby residents and other interested parties.
In addition to all five City Council members (Gardiner, Clark, Long, Stern and Wolowicz), five City staff members (Petru, Rosenfeld, Allison, Waters and Evans) were also present. Don Putnam, the RBF Engineer who prepared the site study was present as well as Todd Anderson of the Peninsula Girl’s Softball League. These twelve individuals were present at all sites visited during the day.
The discussion notes are arranged in the order the site visits took place. The first visit was at approximately 9:30 AM and the last about 2:30 PM. These notes should be utilized in conjunction with the information contained in the Girls’ Softball Feasibility Study presented to the City Council on May 4, 2004 for a better understanding of the location and description of the parks and the potential fields.
Upper Point Vicente Park – West
The City Council first visited the Civic Center property, also known as Point Vicente Park. There were no local residents who asked to address the Council at this location.
The location of the two fields proposed as possible for this property was the grassy area directly opposite City Hall that extends from the tennis courts to the Coast Guard antenna site. Staff noted that the two new fields would benefit from existing parking and restrooms and could be laid out in such a manner that the outfields would still be usable for events, such as the annual 4th of July Country Fair and Walk on the Wild Side, and other sports activities such as soccer. Staff pointed out that the fields would be largely screened by the existing City Hall complex from adjacent residential units that overlook the site on the northern side of Hawthorne Boulevard.
Upper Point Vicente Park – East
The Council then walked over to the area now primarily utilized for event parking during the Country Fair and reviewed a proposal that would place two softball fields on a portion of the largely flat parking area and the area now utilized as a helicopter landing pad. No residents were present who asked to speak.
Staff mentioned that the area was nearly flat and would require very little grading. It was also pointed out that if the site was developed in conjunction with the fields proposed on the west side of the property, a total of four softball fields could be provided on a single site. In addition, because this portion of the site is tucked into the hillside adjacent to Hawthorne Boulevard, it would be screened from the residential areas above on the northern side of the roadway.
Staff observed that if these fields were constructed, additional parking and restrooms would not necessarily be required initially since there are existing parking and restroom facilities located nearby on the site and portable restrooms could also be utilized if needed.
The City Council took note of the staff comment that this site has also been identified as the possible site for a gymnasium and swimming pool complex or a City Corporation Yard.
Several of the Council members were not as familiar with Eastview Park as they were with the other sites. Staff reminded the Council that the site was leased from the Sanitation District and any facilities constructed on the site would be subject to approval by the District. The lease arrangement also allows the Sanitation District to take back the site by giving a 60-day notice. Further complicating usage of the site is the recent indication by the District that the District may need Eastview Park as a staging area for a major multi-year construction project currently under study. No residents asked to address the Council regarding the use of this site.
Eastview Park was identified as a possible location for three softball fields. The staff noted that the topography of the park site was essentially flat and parking and restrooms were already available. They also noted that by placing the backstops in the corners of the park, the opportunity for use of the facility for soccer or football would be enhanced.
Note: Since the June 5, 2004 site visit staff has found that Eastview Park is subject to a Specific Plan that limits the park use to passive recreational activities and prohibits use of the park outside of daylight hours.
At Grandview Park the City Council was greeted by approximately twenty local residents who turned out to express their opinions that construction of softball fields on this site would have significant negative impacts on their neighborhood including increased traffic, noise, loss of views, diminished property values and loss of open space. There was a general consensus among the persons who spoke that the Grandview Park area should remain passive with trails and natural areas.
Staff pointed out the property’s domed topography and recognized that this site would require a large amount of earthwork. They were reminded that because there are no existing facilities or infrastructure on this site, everything would have to be constructed, including an access driveway with retaining walls, an off-street parking lot, restroom/snack shack/equipment storage building and all utility connections, which in combination with the required grading, make this the most expensive site to develop for girls’ softball.
Lower Hesse Park
The Council was met by 10 –15 local residents at Lower Hesse Park who expressed their opinion that there had been an implied promise on the part of former City Councils that Lower Hesse Park would remain a passive park. The citizens who spoke all objected to construction of girls’ softball fields on the site.
Staff noted that this is the only site of the seven identified that is large enough to accommodate four girls’ softball fields in the cloverleaf configuration and provide all of the support facilities requested by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Youth Sports Council. Staff also mentioned that because of the site’s sloping topography and the size of the area needed for four fields and a 99-space parking lot, it would require the largest amount of grading of the seven sites considered in this study. The site would also require some utility connections and construction of a restroom/snack shack/equipment storage building. Development of the new field would require removal of the sand volleyball court and walking/jogging paths, as well as replacing the existing natural drainage course with an enclosed storm drainpipe running under the fields.
Upper Hesse Park
The possibility of converting the existing softball field in Upper Hesse Park to a regulation girls’ softball field and constructing an additional field adjacent to it was discussed. In general the citizens who were present preferred that no fields be added to the park, but when asked by a Councilman, they preferred the additional development of the upper Park to the construction of any ball fields in the lower Park.
Staff noted that the upper site would have a relatively low cost to develop for girls’ softball because, restrooms and utility connections are already available on site, the existing baseball field could be easily converted into a girls’ softball field and the adjacent open grassy area is basically flat.
There were no residents present at Ryan Park to speak to the Council and the Council observed the site from the street above the park. Staff pointed out that parking would be a difficult problem if the site were developed with two softball fields