Kids Vs. Adults on Use of Soccer Field-
At its meeting on Wednesday, September 19, the Piedmont Recreation Commission will again hear testimony
on the persistent issues regarding use of Beach Playfield. The meeting will be held at 7:30 pm in the City Council Chambers.
In June, Piedmont resident Jerry Miller
suggested that Beach Playfield be categorized as a “youth field only” thus excluding adult soccer use. He described the field as too small for simultaneous adult and youth play. The commission considered several solutions for including adult use in a manner that could alleviate current complaints: a one-hour time limit whenever other users were waiting to play, dividing the field in half by installing temporary pylons or fencing with one side for adults and the other for kids; and enhancing the authority of the Park Monitor.
public testimony , David Trebotich told the Commissioners about his concerns that the uniformed, adult soccer teams dominate Beach Playfield on Saturday/Sunday afternoons, causing significant wear and tear on the field’s surface due to the seriousness and force of their play. He and his children have stopped using Beach Playfield because of the intimidation by the adult soccer players and his reluctance to confront them about the rules. Trebotich mentioned his concern that even if only half the field is being used by adult players, the speed and force of balls being kicked pose a significant safety threat to nearby small children and family play.
The Commission pointed out
that it is not opposed to adult soccer play on Beach Playfield, but agreed the high speed, high intensity games of a large group of male soccer players is incompatible with the playfield’s small size and the mix of children and family users. It discussed options for prohibiting this type of adult usage. During discussion, staff was requested to prepare a proposal for the Commission to consider at its September meeting based on several suggestions including–”youth priority” designation, Sunday family activities, and restricted hours for adult use. The staff was also asked to research other cities’ approaches, consult with the City Attorney on restriction legality, and discuss the idea of hiring a park ranger with the School District. In the meantime, the Commission requested staff to step up enforcement of the Playfield’s current use restrictions. It directed the field monitor to:
- Enforce the restrictions on the maximum number of adults (12) allowed to use the field at any one time — if adult usage exceeds the maximum allowable, the monitor can identify for the police the specific individuals in violation;
- Encourage adult soccer players to play “crossways” on the field; and
- Pass out flyers to adult players informing them of the issues that will be discussed at the Commission’s September public hearing and encouraging their attendance and input at the September 19 meeting.