Dec 13 2010

Pilot Program to Expand Sunday Use of Witter Field Approved

Summary of the December 8th School Board discussion and decision on Witter Field Use provided by June Monach, School Board Member:

The Board unanimously approved a proposal developed by the District’s administration to expand Sunday use of the Witter Fields. The proposal was developed in response to increasing demand for play fields for youth sports and neighborhood complaints around unauthorized organized use of the facilities. In considering the pilot proposal the Board explained how it must balance the needs of the community with the needs and rights of the individual. In developing the recommended pilot, the administration took into consideration input from the youth sports organizations, requests from neighbors to mitigate traffic safety and congestion and to improve the monitoring of unauthorized use, and input from the general public.

An integral part of the program will be the hiring of a Sunday monitor who will serve as the District’s representative and work with the Piedmont Police Department to enforce authorized use.

Approved hours of operation on Sundays will be from 9 am (for practices/warm-ups) or 10 am (for games) until 5 pm (or dusk if earlier than 5 pm), with the El Cerrito gate into Witter Field to be closed and locked on Saturday evenings at 5 pm and not opened until Monday mornings at 6 am. Use of lighting and public address systems will not be allowed. Superintendent Constance Hubbard noted that there would be scheduled closure of the fields for regular maintenance of each of the fields.

With the exception of scheduled closures, it was clarified that the fields (when not in use by permitted users) and other parts of the athletic complex, such as the track, are open to the public on weekends. Revenues and costs will be tracked closely to ensure that the District breaks even with the proposed pilot, which takes effect Sunday, December 12, 2010 and will be evaluated by the Board in November 2011.

For background information and details of the pilot, please read pp 13-14 here.

Editor’s Note: Readers may link to prior discussion of problems associated with unscheduled use at Witter Field and Beach Playfield (at p. 2-3).

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