Feb 16 2011

Opinion: Blair Park Development Problems

A Letter from a Piedmont Resident on Blair Park:

Dear friends,

If you haven’t had a chance to inspect the story poles at Blair Park and hear an explanation of what they mean, there is an excellent narrated short video at www.moragacanyon.org.  Click on “Video showing size of story poles” or just go to YouTube and search “Moraga Canyon”.

After closely following this proposed sports complex project for over two years with its various “revisions”, Al and I are more opposed than ever.  It is far too massive for the narrow strip of land and will forever change Moraga Canyon.  155 trees will be destroyed including 55 mature live oaks. There will be deep cuts of approximately 80 feet into the hillside with 35-foot retaining walls under the hillside homes.  Bordering Moraga Avenue, at its highest point, there will be a 38 foot high “berm” and fence along the larger elevated sports field.  The green on the pole shows how high the fill will come:  18 feet. There will be 2.5 acres of hardscape covering nearly all usable space at Blair Park.  Both the Sierra Club and Golden Gate Audubon Society have come out against the plan.

It’s not really a “gift” and its certainly not going to be free since the taxpayers will probably be picking up cost overruns, much of the maintenance, sewer line relocation, and $1.2 million estimated to install artificial turf and lighting at Coaches Field.  And think of the liability to the city if there is ever a landslide below any of the homes along the ridge.  The safety issues having to do with Moraga Avenue, a winding busy thoroughfare are an additional concern.  The plan, as yet, has no way for kids to cross the street and no sidewalks along the park or adjoining other streets.  And after all this, Blair Park would satisfy only 15 of the 54 hours the soccer clubs say they need!

There are much better options to the clubs finding more sports field space at a fraction of the cost.  They can enlarge Coaches Field and they can cooperate with other private clubs to build a large sports field near Piedmont. After the lease in Alameda expires in 2012, their fields will still be available for rent, although not on an exclusive basis.

If you also have concerns, please go to www.moragacanyon.org to see what you can do to stop this massive destruction of the canyon environment. The plan will come before the Park Commission this Thursday and the Planning Commission the following Thursday.  Then it goes to the Council for a decision!


Barbara Peters

(This letter expresses the personal opinions of the author. All statements made are the opinion of the writer and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.)

Leave a Comment