Oct 17 2022

Piedmont Middle School Courts and Main Park Bridge: Oct. 19

Joint Recreation Commission and Park Commission Agenda
Wednesday, October 19, 2022     7:30 p.m.

Consideration of a Recommendation to City Council on the Use of Proposition 68 Per Capita Grant Funding for Upgrades to the Piedmont Middle School Sport Courts, including Pickleball Court Improvements and Replacement of a Pedestrian Foot Bridge in Piedmont Park near Bushy Dell Creek – 


Recommend that the City Council revise the Proposition 68 Per Capita Grant Funding to include two projects: upgrades to the Piedmont Middle School (PMS) Sports Courts including Pickleball Court Improvements and replacement of a pedestrian foot bridge in Piedmont Park near Bushy Dell Creek


On October 20, 2021, the Recreation and Park Commissions held a special virtual meeting to review the Prop. 68 Per Capita project proposal to create a new outdoor space in Piedmont Park. There was a robust discussion among Commissioners and the Joint Commissions voted 10-2 in favor of recommending the project to City Council.

Following the Commissions’ recommendation, the City Council on December 6, 2021 approved designation of the City’s share of Proposition 68 Per Capita grant funding for an outdoor Recreation Department preschool and public space near the Community Hall. Staff proceeded to finalize project costs for the grant application and worked with Coastland Engineers to develop plans and a cost estimate for the approved project. After careful evaluation of several options which included cost savings alternatives, the engineer’s estimate exceeded the grant amount by approximately $200k. With a project that substantially exceeded the grant funds, staff considered alternate projects that would be appropriate for this grant.


The grant funds must be used as capital outlay for recreational purposes and grant recipients are encouraged to utilize the award to rehabilitate existing infrastructure and address deficiencies in neighborhoods lacking access to the outdoors. As part of the grant resolution for the acceptance of the State funds, the City is encouraged to take actions that promote diversity and inclusions in their parks.

Piedmont’s total combined grant allocation is $184,932. Because Piedmont does not qualify as a disadvantage community, the grant requires the City to contribute matching funds of $46, 233 which is 25% of the grant award resulting in a total project budget of $231, 165.

In reconsidering project designation for the grant, the Recreation and Public Works Departments reviewed projects that were shovel ready and would improve existing recreational and park facilities as well as serve multiple recreational users and park visitors.

Two projects are proposed for the grant funds:

Project 1: Additional upgrades to the Piedmont Middle School (PMS) Sport Courts including new plexipave acrylic athletic court surfacing over the existing asphalt surface, striping for pickleball, volleyball, street hockey, and badminton, new basketball back boards and padding, portable volleyball net system and a water bottle filling station.

Beginning in 2018, the Recreation Commission’s Subcommittee on Tennis Court Use and Pickleball reviewed the management of the City’s tennis facilities and programming as well as the growing interest in pickleball in Piedmont.

The subcommittee recognized the need for careful and specific planning to introduce a new recreational activity into a community with severe recreational space constraints. They performed diligent work over the course of seven months and arrived at a number of recommendations that were presented to and adopted by the Recreation Commission on January 16,2019 and City Council on March 4, 2019. Their primary recommendation for pickleball was to explore a partnership with PUSD to renovate the Physical Education (PE) hardcourt surfaces at PMS to create a first class pickleball facility with a tennis quality surface lined and painted, for use by school and public. The courts would allow for multiple uses including badminton and basketball, in addition to pickleball that could be open to the community during non-school hours.

The Capital Improvement Projects Committee (CIP) also recommended the PMS Sport Courts as one of their top three priority projects for consideration in their 2019 report delivered to Council at the May 11, 2019 City Budget Workshop. On June 3, 2019, the City Council approved a reimbursement and a use agreement with PUSD regarding Piedmont Middle School Sport Court renovations and Council approved an appropriation in the 2018-2019 fiscal year of $50,000 from the unallocated balance of the General Fund towards the removal of existing asphalt, grading and installation of new asphalt as well as installation of new net posts and nets on the three existing PMS Sport Court surfaces. Funding at the time was not adequate to include the desired “tennis quality surface” that was requested and recommended for courts of this type.

The project also included restriping the existing PE lines and the addition of striping for six regulation sized pickleball courts to be used with portable nets. Since the PMS Sport Courts were renovated and hours established for pickleball play at Hampton, Beach and PMS, the popularity and growth of pickleball in Piedmont (and nationally) has skyrocketed. Across the three sites where pickleball is played in Piedmont, approximately 1200 players use Piedmont courts each month (some playing for the first time and others playing multiple times per week).

While the interest in pickleball has expanded to all age groups, it is by far the largest older adult/senior activity offered in Piedmont. The PMS Sport Courts have provided for a highly used space for pickleball in Piedmont hosting about 700 players each month. The 6 courts also allow the pickleball group to offer tournament play twice per month, frequent clinics and a monthly community potluck. On Saturdays and Sundays, you will typically see 24 people playing and 24-32 players waiting to play.

Due to demand, PRD has recently added evening play at the PMS courts which has been well received with 3-4 courts always full. The PMS Sport Courts will continue to accommodate school Physical Education classes and activities and allow the Recreation Department to offer after school drop-in and structured programs for a variety of sports.

The loss of the Rec Basketball Courts due to the Community Pool project and requests to provide informal volleyball play near the schools will both be accommodated at the PMS Sport Courts. The improved striping and tennis court surface will provide users with a consistent surface, grip and traction while playing. The improvements funded by the grant would be managed entirely by PUSD, with the City reimbursing PUSD up to $100,000 for expenses related to resurfacing, striping, basketball backboards with padding, portable volleyball net system and a water bottle filling station. PUSD will absorb the cost of construction management and long-term maintenance.

Project 2: Replacement of a pedestrian foot bridge in Piedmont Park near Bushy Dell Creek Within Piedmont Park, a small creek tributary crosses one of the main paths near where Bushy Dell Creek enters the culvert adjacent to PUSD softball field.

A wood pedestrian bridge, estimated to be over 20 years old spans the tributary. This bridge was first identified as being deficient in 2015 and a funding source has yet to be identified. The wood decking was temporarily patched with plywood as the decking was in need of repair and in 2019, Public Works contacted several contractors and explored options for replacing the bridge. Due to the location and access, it was determined that the bridge could not be prefabricated and craned into place, but the replacement would involve a custom design to fit the site conditions.

Early discussions on bridge replacement were halted during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022, Public Works staff has worked with Pacific General Engineering to prepare preliminary designs and a cost estimate to replace the bridge, install new abutments and include handrails that comply with current building code. The proposed bridge will utilize steel beams and wood components for the decking and the handrail. Final design and an engineer’s estimate will be prepared by the city engineer. The new bridge installation will require adjustments to the existing path and limited landscape repair adjacent to the new structure. The grant will be used to cover the fabrication and installation of the bridge and the repair and upgrades to the landscape and path adjacent to the bridge. Grant, funding for the bridge and associated landscape improvements will be approximately $150k and will expend the remainder of the grant.


10-19-22 Joint Recreation and Park Commission Meeting

One Response to “Piedmont Middle School Courts and Main Park Bridge: Oct. 19”

  1. I know pickleball is immensely popular, but could it not raid Prop 68 funds to improve the courts?

    The full title of Prop 68 is “California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018”.

    Technically resurfacing the courts and building a bridge appear to be allowed under the guidelines, but these projects are clearly not in the spirit of Prop 68. )https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/1008/files/Per_Capita_Program_Procedural_Guide_8_2022.pdf). The first iteration of the Prop 68 project was but these replacement projects are standard routine maintenance.

    There are ample other city funds for these maintenance projects – the Athletic Facilities Maintenance Fund and burgeoning Facilities Maintenance Fund to cite just two. The City just used $300K from the Facilities Maintenance Fund to pay for the new plaza and stairs in the main park – why not this park bridge?

    Was any consideration given to say a native plant garden at the new Linda Park, improvements to the outdoor PUSD classrooms or the perpetually neglected Blair Park? Opportunity lost. Unless Park and Recreation Commissioners step up.

Leave a Comment