Apr 22 2015

Hampton Field and Tennis Courts Concerns Expressed to Recreation Commission

Piedmont High School students report on the April 15, 2015 Recreation Commission Meeting

Marley Bratman reports:

On April 15th at 7:30 p.m, the Piedmont Recreation Commission kicked off their monthly meeting by honoring Terry London, a long time Commission member who is retiring. The Recreation Commission has the job of advising the City Council concerning the renovation or creation of recreation facilities as well as making decisions regarding Piedmont field use allocations. 

Shortly after the celebration for London, the Commission moved onto their first topic, the renovation of Hampton Field.  Mark Feldkamp, a member of the staff, discussed the changes Hampton Field will face in the month of June regarding the new and improved drainage, tennis courts, basketball courts, and turf fields. Currently, there are not enough drains to dry the fields quickly, the basketball and tennis courts are cracked, and Hampton Field is the only field in Piedmont with out an artificial turfed field.

Due to expenses on the Hampton Field renovation being high, Feldkamp proposed a two-stage process. The first stage would cost over $507,000, focusing on the hardscape areas while the second stage would cost around $700,000 to $800,000, focusing on the field, benches, and entry areas.

Piedmont High School student and private tennis instructor, Daniel Lin, included his input on the public forum concerning the central Piedmont tennis courts. Lin said that the lights do not illuminate the courts enough once it gets dark and the area around the courts is not large enough.  Recreation Director Sara Lillevand responded to Lin’s concerns saying that she and her staff members are completely aware of these problems and the Piedmont courts are up next to be resurfaced and fixed.

Next up on the public forum, Piedmont High student and track and field member, Gates Zheng, spoke about his issues regarding the nets put up around the turf at Witter Field. Zheng said he thinks the nets are not high enough and do not keep lacrosse and soccer balls from hitting people running along the track. I am a lacrosse player and I agree that these nets are not high enough because our team loses too many balls when we have practice and games. Higher nets around the turf would fix this problem for both track teams and lacrosse teams.

Once the public forum came to a close, Commissioner Betsy Andersen addressed a CIP update, which stands for capital improvement projects. Currently there are several projects related to the Piedmont Community Hall. There is a request for a renovation of the plaza where many large events are held in addition to installing terraces for indoor/outdoor space. There is also a request to renovate the amphitheater, which is located on the other side of the Community Hall.

The last topic the Recreation Commission covered was who to honor with the Betty C Howard Award, which honors outstanding contributions to Piedmont recreation. The Commission decided on Ray Deranger, an eight-year event employee, who always pleases everyone’s requests. The second person they decided should win the award was retiring Commissioner Terry London because of all the hard work he has dedicated to the Recreation Commission.

After the meeting was adjourned, I spoke with Chair Stephen Mills. Mills used to be a commisioner on the Piedmont Park Commission, but recently became a part of the Recreation Commission. Mills stated, “I love Piedmont and enjoy working with the community.” He is pleased that he can help fix the concerns and problems addressed by his fellow Piedmont citizens. Mills was fascinated by the Dracena Park project when he was apart of the Park Commission and is now looking forward to the Hampton Project being put forth.

April 15th Recreation Commission Meeting report by Piedmont High School Student Daniel Lin:

On April 15th, 2015, I attended a Recreation Commission meeting at the City Hall in Piedmont. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss upcoming recreational changes that the city would undergo. The Commission meets at least once per month.

Some of the major issues discussed at the meeting involved updating Hampton Field, acquiring money to fund new projects such as renovating the Community Hall Plaza, renovating the amphitheater on the other side of the hall, building terraces behind the community hall, adding lights and making Coaches Field bigger, potentially adding a beach volleyball court next to Beach Field, and improvement of the aquatics center.

While I was listening to the meeting, I found that nobody on the Commission or in the audience spoke out against any of these issues that were discussed. Instead, everyone on the Commission spoke in favor of them. One of the major issues that was discussed was the renovation of Hampton Field.

I personally am in favor of the Hampton Field renovation. Although a total of approximately $1.3 million will be put forth in order to complete this renovation, I still feel that it should be done. When I was still in elementary school, I often played tennis and baseball at Hampton Field. And often times, I would slip and fall in the mud on rainy days. In addition, the cracks on the tennis courts made my playing experience not very good. Therefore, I am in favor of the renovation of Hampton Field where all natural turf will be added and the tennis courts will finally be resurfaced.

After the meeting, I interviewed Kim Hebert, one of the Recreation Commissioners. She is on the commission because she wants to “improve the recreation facilities.” Her next steps in order to reach this goal will be to raise money and funding in order to improve all of the facilities that are currently in use.

During the meeting, I spoke out during the public forum and discussed some of the changes I would like to see happen to the tennis courts within Piedmont. I talked about how the lights at the high school courts were not powerful enough at night and hindered play, how the courts at Beach School should be resurfaced and renovated as there are many hazards surrounding them, and how the tennis courts at Hampton Field should be resurfaced as they have not been for many years now.


April 15 Recreation Commission Meeting report by Max Atchison:

On April 15, 2015 the colorful and fast paced Piedmont Recreation Commission held a meeting in the Piedmont City Hall. This meeting was held to catch up on some small issues the commission had recently addressed, suggest improvements to the center of town, to honor a retiring Recreation Commission member, and primarily to discuss the update of Hampton Field that is to be renovated soon.

The meeting began with all of the department members thanking their colleague Terry London for six years of great work.  The meeting then proceeded by introducing Terry’s replacement, Steve Roland and electing a new chair and vice chair for the commission, Stephen Mills as the Chair and Betsy Anderson as the Vice Chair.

Then the bulk of the meeting was came up and the Commission began discussing their new project of updating Hampton Field. They discussed the financing as well as the timing and exactly what was being done.

After hearing the group discuss the updated drainage system, turf field, and updates to the tennis and basketball courts, it was at this point when I spoke to the board in supporting the movement to update Hampton Field, letting them know that as a child who played on Piedmont Baseball and Soccer teams at that field I knew that not only was the drainage a significant issue but also that the baseball field and surrounding courts are all in dire need of an update. I was thanked for my contribution.

Some of my classmates spoke on issues at Witter Field, regarding the safety of the track team from foul balls being hit from the baseball field, and on how the lighting as well as court quality at many tennis courts in the city also call for renovations. After these statements, the Recreation Commission said that they were aware of all of these issues and are trying their best to update as many facilities in the city as possible.

The meeting then concluded with the Commission members discussing changes that they believe should be made to the center of town to increase recreational activities.

The meeting then concluded at which point I approached Recreation Director Sara Lillevand for an interview. She seemed to want to keep the interview short and sweet and told me that she was there simply as the director of the meeting and that her responsibility in that position is to help create the Commission’s agenda and that everything that happens in the meeting is something she is concerned with.

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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