Sep 1 2012

Beach Field Issues Return to Rec Commission in September

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.

During 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 surfacdue 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:

  1. 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;
  2. Encourage adult soccer players to play “crossways” on the field; and
  3. 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.

8 Responses to “Beach Field Issues Return to Rec Commission in September”

  1. Eliminating the aggressive “semi-pro” teams that use the Linda Beach field regularly is the only real solution. How this can be accomplished and still leave the field available to Adult resident teams, such as the informal Piedmont soccer mothers who like to play, is the real dilemma. There is the ordinance against more than 12 adults playing. That law is not enforced and before other solutions are forthcoming there should be an understanding by residents of why that tool is not being used as the ordinance was specifically enacted to solve the problem of the aggressive adult teams taking over Linda Beach.

  2. Proper adult use of Beach can occur through self-policing – the women’s group on Sundays seems not to exceed the limit and use half the field. The problem is that other adult groups do not self-police and in fact ignore the current posted restrictions. A field monitor was used over a year ago and the large adult game has returned. Current policing is achieved by residents calling PPD which is problematic for families showing up to use the field. And groups of children going to the field are unlikely to call PPD. Designating the field as “youth only” may be the only solution – a large adult lunch time game was disbanded when the city ceded field use to the school district during daytime hours. Likewise, having the city designate Linda Beach as a youth field with adult use only allowed by permit would make it easier to enforce the rules.

  3. Kids should come and play at Coaches Field which seems to have a lot of open play time. Leave Beach to the adults and Coaches to the kids. All you have to do is figure out how to get onto the locked field at Coaches.

  4. Joannie good idea but do you have that reversed? Beach is kid-sized while Coaches is sized for a bigger game. Also easier for kids to get to Beach.

  5. Garrett,

    No, I don’t have it reversed. Adults seem to want to play an intense game necessitating a lined field and boundaries. What I was suggesting at Coaches was for the parent who wants to kick the ball around (casual play) with their kids. Perfect at Coaches. There is ample room even when fall ball games are being played (baseball). Easily accessible by bicycle.

  6. Joannie, it depends on what adults. From my observation the women always use half field and stay within the lines. The men’s game, the source of the problem, expands to use most of the field and leaves a small area for others. More can be done at Coaches but it seems inefficient to ask parents and kids to have to go up to Coaches when Beach is so accessible. And the Beach use restrictions are intended to quite the neighborhood for one day and give field access for unscheduled use for the community – letting large adult games set up there on Sunday would prevent that.

  7. Coaches Field is used for soccer and fall baseball in the fall, baseball and softball in the spring, and Piedmont Adult softball in the summer. The only times it’s available Sept-June are during weekday school hours, which is not when the adults play soccer. If you go to Coaches any Saturday or Sunday during baseball season, you will see a field used to the max. Also after school until dark, PBSF schedules practices to overlap so that one team is in the outfield when another uses the infield to maximize field usage. During the fall, youth soccer teams practice in the grass or after school during the week and have games on weekends, with an occasional fall baseball game thrown in.

    I suggest that the city just enforce the existing regulations instead of passing new ones that also will not be enforced.

  8. Attention! It has been known for quite a long time now that children and youth grow into adults. How can Piedmont have a policy and programs that teach children and youths to play soccer and then prohibit them from playing on our fields when they become adults? It’s crazy. I think weekend use by adults of the Beach play field, is appropriate and should be welcomed. Perhaps weekday use as well, when kids aren’t using the play field.

    Yes, I’ve noticed the adult women playing on half the field with no problem. I recognize some of them as Piedmonters, perhaps who learned on that very field. The adult men seem to be comprised mostly of Ethopian-looking men but several Caucasians join in as well. We certainly can’t have a policy that discriminates use by gender or ethnic origin. Moreover, I’ve seen many of those men teaching kids soccer technique … perhaps raising another generation of (horrors!) adult soccer players.

    Let’s institute some kind of rational, fair, hour-long sign-up for the field’s use, and be pleased that the soccer we teach our kids will stay with them and keep them healthy and physically fit throughout their adult lives as well.

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