May 14 2011

Opinion: Working Together on a Plan to Enlarge Coaches Field

A letter from Barbara Peters Urging a Meeting Between PRFO and FMC to find a Blair Park Solution

Dear Editor,

It’s time to end the divisiveness around the issue of Moraga Canyon and Blair Park and to look for creative solutions.

The Piedmont sports clubs desire additional field space in town since their lease in Alameda expires in the fall of 2012. If  Piedmont Recreation Facilities Organization (PRFO) is willing to meet with Friends of Moraga Canyon (FMC), perhaps we could find common ground. Two well respected architects, Bill Blackwell and Chuck Oraftik, have each drawn excellent plans for enlarging Coaches Field. An enlarged Coaches Field would provide much of the field space that the private clubs are seeking.

There are many advantages to enlarging Coaches Field:

  • It is far safer for children to stay on the north side of Moraga Avenue with sidewalks at  street level rather than to cross a dangerous thoroughfare.
  • 155 trees, including 55 coast live oaks, habitat for birds, animals and other creatures would be preserved.
  • There would be no need for deep cuts into the hillside and for ugly retaining walls up to 4-stories high.
  • There would be no need for traffic lights and a mini-roundabout.
  • Coaches Field is sunnier and warmer. Blair Park, in the shadow of the hillside, is often dark, dank and cold.
  • There would be no need to relocate lateral sewer lines and a large water main; no need to construct huge underground water storage tanks.
  • An enlarged Coaches Field could be built at a fraction of the cost of building fields at Blair Park.
  • Liability concerns and legal challenges would virtually disappear.
  • Most likely, enlarging Coaches Field would require only a simple amendment to the EIR, so it could be in use by 2012.

It’s time to move forward to give our children the field space they need. Enlarging Coaches Field is by far the most preferred and practical solution.

Barbara Peters

Piedmont Resident

(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.)

3 Responses to “Opinion: Working Together on a Plan to Enlarge Coaches Field”

  1. I agree its time for a compromise.
    FMC should make the plans public.

  2. Thank you, Ms. Peters, for suggesting what appears to be a far superior solution to the problem of inadequate field space.

  3. To answer Mr. Follick, the alternative plans for Moraga Canyon can be reviewed on the city website:

    Another plan can be obtained from the Recreation Department – this is the EIR for Coaches Field which found no significant impacts from the development of regulation soccer and baseball fields and relocation of the Corporation Yard to Blair Park. That plan was not implemented but its design for Coaches Field shows how that site can be modified to accommodate the large soccer field/baseball field proposed for Blair Park. Just like Blair Park, the Coaches EIR identified a need to get pedestrians safely across Moraga Avenue so traffic analyses currently being prepared for Blair Park can likely be used to complete the Coaches EIR.

    Environmental impact, aesthetics and construction costs aside, Ms. Peters does identify two keys differences between the proposals that bear on the costs to the city of Moraga Canyon development. One is underground infrastructure. The Blair proposal requires relocation of private and city sewer and water lines and the construction of underground storage vaults to store storm water runoff. The construction and operation costs of this infrastructure has not been determined. The Coaches proposal does not require this infrastructure. Likewise, the city takes on the liability of earthquake and other damage to this infrastructure and potentially to the private residences above Blair Park. The Coaches proposal has virtually none of this liability.

    A special meeting for a final decision on the design for the Moraga Canyons Sports Fields project has been scheduled for Tuesday June 14 in City Hall.

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