May 26 2016

Priorities: Coaches Field, Beach Tot Lot, Community Hall, Oakland Avenue Bridge, Highland Strip, Blair Park, Etc. Capital Improvement Projects – Committee Report for 2016 -17 Budget

Report listing priorities presented by the Capital Improvement Projects Review (CIP) Committee to the City Council at their Budget Workshop on May 21, 2016  for potential funding. –

2016-2017 Capital Improvement Projects Committee  – Bobbe Stehr, Chairman

The Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) committee reconvened in February 2016 to begin work on project recommendations to the City Council regarding community needs and desires for new capital projects for the 2016-2017 budget cycle. At our first meeting, City Manager Paul Benoit and Councilman Bob McBain discussed the current and future direction of the committee’s responsibilities and the committee’s outreach efforts to compile a list of new capital projects that would be considered by the Council as funding opportunities became available, whether through City funding sources or grants.

After considerable discussion by the committee members, we recognized that under the new direction of the City Council, our responsibility was to conduct an extensive outreach process, inviting participation by individuals, citizen groups, commissions and City staff. The process included an on- line proposal form on the City’s website. The Committee also developed a list of criteria to be used for evaluating all proposed projects and provide specific conclusions with recommendations for future planning.

Under this new direction, the committee reviewed all new proposals; projects submitted through the on-line proposal form as well as long standing projects that have remained on the list. We considered all public comments and staff evaluations. All of our meetings were noticed to the public and our on-site tour of the proposed project locations occurred on May 7, 2016.

Our criteria for evaluating and recommending potential projects included such factors as wide benefit to the community, public safety, broad public support, and protecting and enhancing community assets. The committee also considered whether projects had funding options from public and private partnerships, revenue generating potential, expanded recreational opportunities and/or tied into the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan.

We have listed every proposed project in priority order. There were four proposals that we concluded were actually not CIP projects, which we referred to the proper departments and have included those in the addendum.

We would like to express our gratitude for the initial guidance provided by City Administrator, Paul Benoit and Councilman Bob McBain; vital assistance from Parks & Projects Manager, Nancy Kent; very thoughtful and perceptive understanding of Piedmont’s extensive recreation needs by Recreation Director, Sara Lillivand and insights provided by our City Council liaison, Jeff Wieler.

Project recommendations listed in order of priority with estimated costs:

1. Coaches Field Master Plan $50,000

The goal of the master plan would be to assess the possibility of expanding the playfield area to maximize the use where a larger field would meet more demand; define the technical needs associated with artificial turf; research “dark sky” directional lighting to extend use time; and address the serious parking shortage.

Believing that it is more efficient to work with an existing facility and because this field is heavily used by several sports, expansion to a regulation under 14-sized soccer field would allow concurrent practice by more than one team at a time.

This field does provide some revenue-generation and does have public interest for cooperative private funding. It would also allow for more “home team” use and spirit.

2. Beach Tot Lot/ADA Compliant Howard Ave Entrance and Restroom Facilities Master Plan $30,000

The goal of the master plan would be to review existing facilities, solicit community input and propose a new layout for improved recreational opportunities at the existing Tot Lot area and the unused space around the restroom facilities, and the space between the Oakland Ave Bridge and the Beach Playfield.

The current Tot Lot is used heavily by residents and the City recognizes the need to maintain tot lot facilities for the neighborhood. In its current location and configuration, the tot lot is unsafe with an unguarded retaining wall and outdated play equipment. An overall study of the most efficient use of the space now occupied by the Tot Lot and its situation with the tennis court, playfield and restrooms, plus access to and from each component would improve the flow and maximize the future use of the area.

The Recreation Director has requested that the Tot Lot not be looked at in isolation, but incorporated into an overall, long-range vision for the area, which may include relocation to the other side of the playfield. This would put the play area closer to the existing restrooms and eliminate the sand creep onto the tennis courts.

Additionally, with the completion of the new townhouses at 408 Linda Ave, it would be a great opportunity for the City to improve the use, aesthetics and functionality of the area between the Oakland Ave Bridge and Linda Beach Field.

In the current budget, Public Works is in the planning stage for the ADA access from Howard Ave and the City is currently reviewing all play structures in the City for safety compliance as well as a schedule for play equipment replacement. This is the time for a Master Plan for this area.

3. Piedmont Community Hall – Entry Court Renovation, $200,000 – $300,000

Parking and ADA access are the urgent needs for this facility and a top priority for the Recreation Department. The recommendation is to enhance the entry court for ceremonial and civic events with decorative paving and improved event lighting. The plan would redirect service vehicles to the edge of the turnaround and relocate the trash area, eliminating the need for heavy trucks to cross the entry court. 2

Currently the City Engineer is working on a survey of the parking possibilities and ADA access. If feasible, the committee recommends that the entry court be upgraded sooner rather than later.

4. Piedmont Community Hall – Rear Balcony and Amphitheater Architectural Master Plan $50,000

Because the Community Hall is in full use nearly daily, an architectural master plan would study and propose enhancements that would improve use, circulation and revenue generation.

Expanding the terraces and rear balcony of Community Hall over enlarged space beneath, would greatly improve the rental opportunities and community programs use with the inclusion of indoor/outdoor access.

Relocating the pre-school facilities to a more easily accessible location would free the lower level of the Hall and provide space for concurrent facility use, better storage and increased rental revenues.

The Amphitheater currently is over impacted and underutilized. An upgrade to permeable paving with current water catchment technology would be both environmentally smart and revitalize the overall area. Relocating the bleachers and access from both stories of the Hall to the amphitheater would connect this space to the interior spaces for better flow and function.

Community Hall is a perfect venue for public/private funding.

5. Oakland Avenue Bridge – Complete the String of Lights $40,000

This is a new proposal by William Blackwell who has done extensive research on both the engineering requirements to add two new light standards, suppliers for exact matches to the existing light standards and the infill string of lights. This definitely qualifies as a stand-alone project to revive what was once a stately entrance to the City of Piedmont.

This is a project that would attract private funding from several sources.

Both Mr. Blackwell and the CIP committee independently came to the same conclusion while on site at the bridge. The Oakland Avenue Bridge is in dire need of some safety improvements. Crossing Oakland Avenue at the crosswalks at both ends of the bridge on the way to or from the Beach playfield area is hazardous.

The CIP committee suggests that the safety issues be included in the future implementation of the Bike/Pedestrian Plan or as part of the Master Plan for the Beach Playfield project.

6. Highland Strip $200,000

Because of the recent wet winter, momentum has stalled for a drought tolerant and native garden to replace the lawn at the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and Highland Avenue. There were regional interests to fund parts of this project, however, much more education and outreach appears to be needed.

7. Dracena Park: Upper Park Master Plan, Ravine Lighting and Pathway improvements $30,000 – $75,000

Proposed by Garrett Keating, Daniel Stein and John Lambert, the three elements were considered individually.

A Master Plan for Upper Dracena Park, especially one that can be implemented incrementally, could be valuable, however, the CIP Committee would need further direction from the Park Commission and we suggested that the proposal be presented to the Park Commission.

Pathway lighting within City parks has been discussed over the years and current policy is not to have artificial lighting from dusk to dawn at most locations.

The request to repair the sidewalk along Dracena Avenue, add handrails and clearly marked crosswalk painting at the intersection of Park Way and Dracena Avenue have been referred to Public Works Maintenance Department.

8. Blair Park: Split Rail Fence, Additional Trees, Parking Lot $65,000 – $100,000

Two separate proposals were reviewed together: Marge Blackwell proposed a split-rail fence along Moraga Avenue for the length of the park and additional planting within the park; Melanie Robertson proposed new trees along Moraga Avenue and a small parking lot for park users.

A split rail fence could be a charming addition and more trees in a park would be wonderful. However, the site does not currently have any water supply that would be needed to irrigate new landscaping and the estimated cost of a new water meter is $65,000. In addition, the City is in the process of having the park’s boundaries surveyed and the CIP committee concluded that any project in Blair Park should be put on hold for the present and would likely need to be considered by the Park Commission at some future date.


Two proposals submitted by Paul Lettieri and Tom Gandesberg requested repaving for safety and bike access. These were referred to the Public Works Maintenance Department and are currently being implemented.

Tom Gandesberg also suggested better irrigation for the median in the 300 block of San Carlos Avenue. Again, this location is currently being upgraded to a more water efficient irrigation system as part of the City’s cyclical review of medians,

Bob Kunselman proposed a new License Plate Reader on Trestle Glen Road. Parks and Projects Manager, Nancy Kent contacted Police Chief Rikki Goede for guidance on this. Chief Goede contacted Mr. Gandesberg and provided the CIP committee with her determination.

I wrote a thank you letter to each person who proposed a project, stating the CIP committee’s appreciation for their suggestions and informing them of the status of each proposal.

Bobbe Stehr, Chair of CIP Committee


Recordings  and minutes of the CIP meetings are not available, as no recordings or minutes were produced.

Residents interested in providing input to the Council on Budget priorities may send emails to John Tulloch, City Clerk:

Next Council consideration of the 2016-17 Budget is June 6, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. City Hall.  The Council meeting will be recorded and broadcast.


Members of the CIP Committee are:

Michael Henn

Susan Herrick

Bobbe Stehr, Chair

Jamie Totsubo

PBF (Piedmont Beautification Foundation)      Representative – Deborah Van Nest

Representative of Recreation Commission

Representative of Park Commission 

Council Liaison: Jeff Wieler (H) 428-1648
Staff Liaisons: Chester Nakahara (W) 420-3061 & Nancy Kent (W) 420-3064

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