Nov 13 2017

The agenda for the November Recreation Commission meeting includes Aquatics Center and Linda Beach Playfield Master Plan.  Residents are invited to attend the meeting in the City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue at 7:30 p.m.

Read the complete agenda here.

 

Nov 13 2017

All interested community members are invited to meet with Groundworks Office, landscape architects, at:

Beach Elementary School Auditorium

100 Lake Avenue 

Thursday, November 16

6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Nov 1 2017

Recreation Commission Meeting of 10/18/2017 – Schoolmates was the main item of consideration.

On the night of October 18th, 2017, I attended a Recreation Commission meeting at Piedmont City Hall with six or seven other students, a concerned father and a councilwoman in attendance. The Commission meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to recreation within the City of Piedmont. The first issue discussed was the election of the new Chair of the Commission. The Commission casually and unanimously elected the Acting Chair,  Vice Chair, Steve Roland as Chair and Commissioner Carrie Graham Lee as Vice Chair.

After an introduction, time was allotted for people to speak about issues not on the agenda. I was the only person from the audience that spoke during this time. For some reason, I was extremely nervous, and I stumbled over many of my words at first. I proposed a program in which part-time high school and college Recreation Department employees could sign up and receive internship opportunities that relate to their employment. For example, a lifeguard could intern at the Fire Department or a paramedic company. They responded mostly by smiling and nodding respectfully.

The meeting took a more serious and professional turn when addressing the third issue on the agenda, tennis. Recreation Director Sarah Lillevand did most of the speaking during the remainder of the meeting. She first addressed updates for the tennis courts in Piedmont, including plans for maintenance and repair. Director Lillevand addressed the public tennis courts near the Municipal Swimming Pool used by the Piedmont High School tennis program , stating that they would receive a resurfacing, among other improvements. These renovations would occur either in a tight window during winter or a two week window in May after PHS Tennis season was over.

After a brief questioning by the Commission, Lillevand moved on to Schoolmates, the most discussed issue on the agenda. She began by reading out many summary stats, such as financial changes, attendance and time slots available.  Lillevand explained that even after fee increases, revenue was down 30% and participation was down 36% compared with the same 9 week period last year.

After this brief introduction, Lillevand moved on to the most important topic within the Schoolmates discussion: the 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. time slot. Since Kindergarten changed from a staggered start for a morning session and an afternoon session, to a uniform 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. kindergarten schedule, the morning hour was no longer needed by the kindergarteners, who had previously been the bulk of kids enrolled during that hour. Now, the question is whether or not to keep that hour; the only kids who are even eligible to attend are first grade late readers. It would be extremely cost inefficient to have two full time employees overseeing at most 4 or 5 children during that hour (There has to be at least two employees at the same time). Some parents rely heavily on this hour, however, and the loss of the time slot would be devastating to them. The Commission gave no solutions, only promised to continue discourse on the subject in the future.

Next was the issue of Schoolmates coverage during Parent/Teacher conference week arose. School lets out around noon every day for that whole week, however Schoolmates doesn’t offer hours until 2 p.m. Director Lillevand told the Commission that the solution is a Conference Week Camp that runs from around noon to 3 p.m, after which the regular Schoolmates would start again. This camp would be more expensive than normal Schoolmates, and would require Schoolmates to hire private contractors to help with the camp.

In response, a father expressed his concerns with this program, and with Schoolmates in general. His main point was that he was concerned with community outreach within Schoolmates and the Recreation Department, as a whole. He claimed the private contractors needed for this camp would create a divide between the Schoolmates program and the community. The Commission recognized his concerns, and told him that they would make sure the contractors were compatible with the community, and would continue to reach out to the community.

In my opinion, the Recreation Department does an excellent job with community outreach, at least within the Aquatics Department.

After a long discussion on Schoolmates, the Commission changed gears and began discussing renovations of Recreation sites around Piedmont. Lillevand explained that the renovation projects for the Aquatics Facility, Veteran’s Hall, Beach Playfield and Coach’s Field are all still in the planning phase and there is no new information on the projects.

The meeting concluded with a brief discussion about the almost completed renovation of Hampton Field. Overall, the Commission is very happy with the new field, tennis courts and basketball courts.

After the meeting, I interviewed a fellow audience member who would rather remain anonymous. The concerned citizen attended the meeting “to receive updates on the pool facility renovations,” the same reason I chose to attend the meeting. In order to keep himself updated, this concerned citizen will attend next month’s meeting.

by Robbie Alazraqui, Piedmont High School Senior

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    On October 18, 2017, I attended a Recreation Commission meeting. The Commission consists of 5 commissioners, a Chair, and a Vice Chair, who all oversee public parks, sports, and recreational programs (Schoolmates, camps). They hold their meetings monthly in City Hall and they focus on many different issues around mainly Piedmont youth. The audience is able to give their opinion on any issue being discussed on the agenda by giving the Chair of the Recreation Commission a speaker card with their name and what number on the agenda they wanted to comment on.

    They began their session by doing a “Call to Order,” where the Vice Chair opened the session by stating who was present, the time, and banging the gavel. It is usually the Chair’s job to call the meeting to order, but the previous Chair had stepped down in the time between the last session and the current one, so the duty was left to Steve Roland, the Vice Chair.

   They then moved into the Public Forum, which lasts ten minutes, where anyone in the audience could voice their opinion on an issue not on the agenda. One of my peers, Robbie, was the only member of the audience to give his opinion at this time.

   After the Forum closed, they moved on to their “Regular Agenda.” Because of the vacant spot of Chair of the Recreation Commission, the first thing on the agenda was to elect a new Chair. They voted unanimously on election of Steve Roland, the current Vice Chair, to become Chair. This left a spot open for a new Vice Chair, and Carrie Graham Lee was voted unanimously, as well, to fill that role. They then approved their last meeting’s minutes (September).

    The next item on the agenda was an update from the Tennis Subcommittee, where the director of the Piedmont Recreation Department, Sara Lillevand, spoke on behalf of the Recreation  Department. She talked about proposed maintenance on the PRD tennis courts and explained that the Department wanted to repair a cracked wall, as well as extending fences between courts to limit tennis balls from entering other courts. She had a preliminary meeting with contractors on an estimate and hopes to be finished with the project by the time NCS rolls around because PHS usually hosts multiple games between the men’s and women’s teams. She will be briefing the Recreation Commission further at the next meeting.

    The Recreation Commission then transitioned to an update on Schoolmates, the daycare for kids who attend the elementary schools, where Lillevand again took the lead. The issue was that Schoolmates was not having enough participation this year and they were struggling to keep their full-time staff. The reason for this was that, for the last 15+ years, kindergarteners at Havens, Beach, and Wildwood Elementary Schools would spend half of their day in school and, as needed, the other half at Schoolmates. This year, however, the hours for kindergartens shifted to 9 a.m.-2 p.m., leaving Schoolmates in a bad spot. Schoolmates is not limited to just kindergarteners, but that is where their largest participation is.

   The Recreation Department first tried to increase fees for families to pay for staff, who are beloved on their respective campuses, but that is not a sustainable method. Even though the school year has just recently started, participation is down 31% from last year. She says that their 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. and 7:30am-8:30am slots have not changed in participation, but the middle of the day is where the drop happens, because there are no more kindergarteners there.

   A Commissioner then had the idea to use teacher aides for the in-between hours if needed, but Lillevand would like to keep the full-time staff on if that is a possibility. Then the newly elected Vice Chair, Carrie Graham Lee, asked what would happen during weeks like parent-teacher conference week, if Schoolmates would not have full-time staff working. Lillevand responded by saying that Camps during that week could be an option, although not nearly as cheap for families as Schoolmates.

   They then concluded that portion of the meeting and left it open to the public. My speaker card was read and I went up to the podium and told the members that having full-time staff at Schoolmates is so important to the community because they have such a positive impact on kids and that anything they could do to keep staff on at Schoolmates would have a lot of support from the community and myself.

    I chose to comment on Schoolmates because it was the most personal to me as I absolutely loved hanging out with Michael and David at the Havens Schoolmates when I was in Kindergarten. I still talk to them sometimes and they have always remembered who I am and ask me how my parents and siblings are doing, even though I have not been to Schoolmates in 12 years. They are truly dedicated to the town and are such a huge part of so many young kids lives in Piedmont, so that is why I felt I needed to try and support them by voicing my opinion.

    The final items on the Regular Agenda were on a couple of Master Planning projects. The Commissioners did not show the actual Master Plans for the items discussed, it seemed to have been discussed in a previous meeting. They went over plans for new aquatics facilities, where Councilwoman Teddy King spoke about a poll sent out to Piedmont citizens about the new aquatic facilities. She did not specify what they were as well.

   They transitioned to the Master Plans for the Recreation Department and Veteran’s Hall. The City wants to remodel them to make them more marketable.

   They then moved onto the Master Plans for Beach and Coaches Fields. Planning will be engaged on November 16, 2017. The last Master Plan they covered was Hampton Field. Because it is nearly complete, they only talked about finishing signage. Lillevand said that in total it was a two million dollar remodel, with $ 800,000 of that coming from private donors.

    They finished their meeting with some announcements. The most important being that Haunted House tickets are now being bought prior to the event, online. Lillevand made the change this year because she believes cash is inefficient, as it does not always get to where it needs to go.

   Chair Roland then adjourned the meeting by hitting the gavel.

    Following the meeting, I talked to Jeffrey Dorman, a newly appointed Recreation Commissioner. He chose to be on the Recreation Commission because he “had gotten involved with the Piedmont Soccer Club, and also have had kids in Recreation programs.” He believes that “having a background from the Soccer Club,’’ he “could help out especially as it relates to fields and field usage.” Since joining the Recreation Commission, he has learned that it is “way more broad and diverse than I had originally thought, it’s not all about sports, it’s also about tons of educational programs, especially programs for little kids; you don’t even realize.” He talked about how he has dealt a lot with people who want something and then the opposite side of people, who want the opposite.  I try to make decisions for the best interests of the town.” He has enjoyed his time on the Commission and hopes to continue as a member for the foreseeable future.

    I never knew that things like this existed in our town, and, honestly, I thought the meeting was fascinating. It hit close to home with Schoolmates, and I was excited to hear all the new changes to come for this town. I thought it was very cool to hear about Hampton Field because it is very nice now, and I use it quite a bit. As a student, it is great to hear about what is going on around you in your town and I am very glad this project was assigned.

by Conner Weber, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Oct 27 2017

The City Announces a Recreation Commission Vacancy

A vacancy has occurred on the Recreation Commission, as Betsy Andersen was recently appointed to the City Council.  Piedmont voters, who are interested in serving on the Commission, may download the > Application for Appointive Vacancy and read the > Commission Description of Duties.

Applications are due to City Hall on or before the deadline of Wednesday, November 15, 2017.

Interviews with the City Council for this appointed position will be scheduled for the evening of Monday, November 20, 2017. No appointment will be made without a Council interview.

For further information contact City Clerk John Tulloch at 420-3040.

Sep 19 2017

Recreation employee Terrance May was arrested and charged with Embezzlement and Grand Theft.

Between July 15 and August 28, 2017, the crime of Embezzlement was committed within the City of Piedmont.

Piedmont Recreation Department staff discovered unusual transactions and promptly notified the Piedmont Police Department of their observations. The Police Department immediately initiated an investigation and determined that the suspect, who was an employee of the Piedmont Recreation Center for the past four years, used a point of sale application on his mobile device to take payments from Recreation Center customers and transfer those funds into his own bank account. The total amount of funds taken was $15,830.00.

Extensive investigative follow-up, combined with evidence recovered from bank accounts, led to the arrest of Terrance May.

May was charged by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office with one count of Embezzlement and two counts of Grand Theft.

May is currently out on bail.

Anyone with information and/or inquiries related to this case is asked to please contact Detective Willie Wright at (510) 420-3013.

Sep 1 2017

Statement from Acting Mayor Robert McBain

September 1, 2017

The past days have been tumultuous, sad, and extremely difficult for Piedmont residents and for the city organization. The opinions and postings of former Mayor Jeff Wieler were in no way reflective of the values and sensibilities of this community. We, his colleagues on the City Council, took swift action to communicate our collective outrage and disappointment in his statements. At the same time we were clear and consistent in our requests that he should resign as Mayor and from his position on City Council. In the end, Jeff made a decision that was well-advised and in the best interests of all concerned.

I am proud of how the Piedmont community responded swiftly to the situation and affirmed our shared values. Our residents are intelligent, committed, and engaged in civic affairs. We have great schools, a history of sound leadership, and a City organization of talented people committed to providing excellent services. We are a resilient community and will be quick to get back to focusing our attention on all that makes this such an outstanding place to call home.

So, what is next? Our City Council will be meeting next Tuesday, [Sept. 5, 2017] with a full agenda. First up will be the election of Mayor and Vice Mayor. In accordance with the rules set out in our City Charter, the Councilmembers elected to these offices will serve through the general election of November 2018. In December 2018, the Council will again elect a Mayor and Vice Mayor from its members. As to the vacancy created by the resignation of Jeff Wieler from his seat on Council, the Charter directs the City Council to fill the vacancy within thirty days.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Council will also consider a resolution reaffirming Piedmont’s commitment to inclusivity and opposing actions of hate groups, a contract for the development of a Master Plan for the Linda Beach Playfield, and bring renewed focus and discussion on the subject of a new aquatic facility for Piedmont. We look forward to taking care of the city’s business and working together to make this an even better community.

Acting Mayor Robert McBain  rmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov

Jul 17 2017

Recreation Commission Agenda Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:30 p.m. City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Call to Order Public Forum: This is an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda. The 10 minute period will be divided evenly between those wishing to address the Commission.

Regular Agenda

1. Welcome

2. Approval of Minutes – May 17, 2017 and June 21, 2017

3. Chair’s Report

4. Aquatics Coordinator Transition Plan

5. Update on PRD Adult Programming

6. Updates on Facility Master Planning Projects

  • Aquatics
  • Recreation Department/Veteran’s Hall
  • Linda Beach Playfield
  • Coaches Field

Announcements, old business

This meeting can be viewed on Cable Channel 27 or on the City of Piedmont website.

 

May 24 2017

 by Alex Markowitz, Piedmont High School Senior – 

    On May 17th, I attended a Piedmont Recreation Commission Meeting in the Piedmont City Council Chambers at the City Hall. The Commission, which is made up of seven members, is in charge of city-sponsored recreational activities and facilities. Some of the items that were covered in the meeting were summer camps, renovations to Hampton Field and Beach Elementary, and the Capital Improvement Project Review Committee.

    Chair Betsy Andersen began the meeting by touching on the recent hate-related incidents that took place at Piedmont High School. She noted that the Recreation Commission would be very willing to work with the High School, as Piedmont’s Recreation Department has a similar impact on Piedmont’s youth. I thought that it was important to discuss these issues and it was encouraging to hear the city’s desire to take steps against hate speech and discrimination in the city.

    Next, Recreation Director Sara Lillevand gave the Commission an update regarding the Piedmont Recreation Department’s upcoming summer camp programs. She stated that there will be 175 available camps for elementary schoolers, and many of them will offer transportation for campers. She said that they opened registration one month earlier, which has helped enrollment numbers increase, while the revenue has increased by 22% compared to this time last year. Additionally, Director Lillevand noted the success of the Counselor-in-Training and Junior CIT programs, where high school and middle school students apply for jobs assisting camp staff. Applicants must pick up their own applications and conduct sit-down interviews, often for the first time in their lives. Two members of the audience, Chris Conn and Greg Wick gave feedback about the CIT program, mentioning that last year it was overstaffed and the ratio of CIT’s to campers was too high. The Commission recognized these concerns and agreed to take them into consideration while also pointing out that they do not want to reject many CIT applicants.

    Next, the Commission was updated about progress on the Hampton Park and Beach Elementary renovations. The Hampton Field renovation is basically complete, as the last hoop was installed. There were some setbacks, such as damaging tree-falling incidents over the winter and recent graffiti, but both have been repaired. The next steps will be to ensure that proper maintenance steps will be taken in the future, especially for the grass. Since I used to be a frequent visitor of the field, I was aware of the damages that the Under-8 soccer season had on the grass every year. So, I asked if soccer games will continue to take place on the new field, and if so, will any measures be taken to prevent damage. Director Lillevand replied that they were optimistic with this type of grass and that Piedmont Soccer Club will make Under-8 players wear turf cleats which are less damaging. There is also a new project starting at Beach Elementary School which could renovate all areas besides the turf field. The master plan is progressing well and public input is being taken into account when decisions are made about what to do with that space.

    The final subject of the agenda was an update on the Capital Improvement Project Review Committee. On May 6, the Capital Improvement Project Committee invited the public on a tour to see and discuss potential projects throughout the city. They talked about Crocker Park, where trees represent a safety hazard by intruding on the paths. Another dangerous area was the “four corners” intersection near Wildwood Elementary, where pedestrians are at risk from speeding cars. Overall, it was good to see the city listening to residents regarding which parts of the city need improvements.

    After the meeting I spoke to Vice Chair Steve Roland. Commissioner Roland said that his and his daughter’s interest in sports contributed to his decision to join the Commission. He sought improved sports facilities throughout Piedmont and is excited with the projects that they have accomplished thus far, in the upgrades of Beach and Hampton. Although there is still much progress to be made, the Commission is moving things in the right direction and more improvements are still to come.

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by Alex Ngo, Piedmont High School Senior –

Although Piedmont is a relatively small town, there are many things that go on within the city that most would not know.  The Recreation Commission meeting, which generally occurs once a month, is a perfect way to learn what goes on within our city.  Every month new topics are discussed primarily revolving around the parks and recreation within Piedmont.  Topics like updates on the new Hampton Field Construction and Programs in the Piedmont Recreation Department were heavily discussed during the meeting.  Additionally, it was very admirable to hear that the Recreation Commission really wants to involve itself with the current issue of hate speech in Piedmont.  One would not immediately see the Recreation Commission as a group that would deal with hate speech within Piedmont schools, so hearing Chairwoman Elizabeth Andersen speak up on this issue was unexpected.  Although it was not on the agenda for this month’s meeting, acknowledgment of the issue was pleasing to hear.   Andersen also went on to suggest this issue be put on next month’s meeting.

After the meeting had ended, I personally addressed Chairwoman Elizabeth Andersen to better understand her interests within the Recreation Commission , and possible goals of the Commission.  When asked what did she want to hear about in this meeting specifically, she referred to the aquatics programs as a topic of her interest, as well as sparking discussion on the current issue in Piedmont, which is hate speech and the anti-semitic events that recently occurred; issues that must never be ignored. It is good to hear that the Recreation Committee would like to take part in stopping this issue in Piedmont.  This issue is a possible discussion topic on next month’s agenda, and is definitely one to look forward to.

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by Greg Wick, Piedmont High School Senior – 

  On May 17th, 2017, I attended the Piedmont Recreation Commission at City Hall. The Commission meets every two weeks on Wednesday to discuss issues related to the parks, the pool and the Recreation Department. The major issues that were discussed at the meeting were updates on summer programs and enrollment, updates on Hampton Park and updated facility master planning projects of the pool, the Recreation Department, Beach Playfield and Coaches Field.

On the topic of the summer programs, the Commission members talked about how enrollment for summer programs was up 22 percent from the year before at this time and that they are expecting to have more kids enroll this summer than they had last year. They also talked about how Jr CIT’s and CITS are able to get volunteer and paid jobs to look after kids. At this point, I got up to speak because I have been a CIT for the past 3 years. I talked about how I have not been able to get the amount of hours I have asked for because the CIT’s were overstaffed and the amount of children were under enrolled. An example I gave of this was last year when I worked at Havens Schoolmates and during most of the day how we had more CIT’s than enrolled children. I explained that this caused CIT’s to focus more on themselves than the actual children because there are so few of them to be able to play with. The Recreation Director Sara Lillevand agreed and said that they are trying to work on solutions to fix this issue.

The Commission members then discussed the Hampton Park improvement and how the last basketball hoop had been added as well as the making of donor bricks had started and should be ready by the fall. One of the fellow attendees brought up the concern of the slope near the basketball courts because it was quite steep and could cause people to fall if someone was chasing after a basketball. I agreed with this point because I had played at Hampton before and had seen a couple of my friends get cuts and bruises from falling down the slope.  Lillevand agreed and said that they are trying to build a low fence around the basketball courts to make it harder for the ball to roll down the hill.

    After this the talk switched to aquatics and the Commission revealed that plans for the pool had been approved and that a date for analyzing the cost of the plan had been set for the City Council meeting on June 5th. They then began to talk about Beach Playfield and how they are going to listen to proposals in June on how to upgrade all aspects around the playfield. Finally they announced that they had hired the consulting company LSA which had helped make plans to update Coaches back in 2006-2010. They said that they are trying to restart improvements on it because it has fallen behind in recent years.

    Once these issues had been discussed fully, the Commission chair ended the meeting at 8:30 pm and I went up to interview her. Her name is Betsy Andersen and I asked her about how she felt about the problems brought to the Commission today. She said that she agreed with my point of trying to stop overstaffing at the Recreation Department because she has a daughter who is a Jr. CIT.  She said that the ability to get hours for her to volunteer is, “chaotic and stressful.” In order to solve this, I suggested that the Rec try to reduce the hours that a person can sign up for from 4 hour blocks to 2 hour blocks which would give more people the opportunity to work during the day.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 22 2017

Discrimination and hateful actions impact park.  

Summer Camp programs have a high rate of registrants. 

by Alex Paton, Piedmont High School Senior – 

I attended a Recreation Commission meeting on the 17th of May 2017. During this monthly meeting, issues regarding parks and recreation throughout Piedmont are discussed by commission members and residents of Piedmont. Fundamentally, these meetings provide an opportunity for the community to discuss and brainstorm potential improvements within the Piedmont parks and recreation system.

During the meeting on May 17th, four main issues were discussed. The first of these issues was the anti-semitism, racism and general hate that has been drawn to attention throughout the community, and how this has manifested throughout the parks. The city and community are working together as a whole to move forward from these incidents and display a positive message for the younger members of Piedmont. Specifically, graffiti at Hampton park is being removed and cleaned up, and older members of the community are being encouraged to speak out and set a positive example of coexistence.

Next, the upcoming summer programs in Piedmont were discussed. There was great optimism throughout the commission as there are now 175 camps offered over 10 weeks this summer and so far, camp registration is up 22% from this time last year. Camps offered range from arts and crafts to cooking to athletics. In addition to more opportunities for campers this summer, there is also more opportunity for counselors and CITs. Greg Wick, Piedmont High Senior,  gave positive reinforcement for the new opportunities for counseling this summer and expressed his disappointment for the lack of working opportunity he experienced in the past. Overall, the Recreation Commission was overjoyed and thankful for the early success.

The recent improvements at Hampton Park were then discussed. The sixth and final basketball hoop was put up since the last meeting and just about every aspect of the park is complete. Trees which fell on and near the basketball courts have also been cleaned up and appropriate repairs have been made. I believe that the basketball courts are nice, however there is a potential hazard when the ball goes off the court and rolls down a hill. I expressed this observation and concern during the meeting, to be met with a nice reply from Carrie Graham Lee. She said they were going to put in a low net to stop this issue from occurring. I am in favor of this much needed improvement. Although not official yet, Elizabeth Smegal Andersen stated that Hampton Park is complete and open for recreation!

Lastly, updates on facility master planning projects and the Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee [CIP] were given. Aquatics are being studied for cost, meetings with the architect for the Veterans Hall have nearly concluded, Beach playfield is being evaluated for updates and Coaches Field is being reassessed for use analytics. The CIP Review Committee is also continuing to review public safety issues, such as the poor lighting at the intersection of St. James and LaSalle.

Once the meeting had concluded, I interviewed a citizen who attended the meeting. This resident of Piedmont, named Garrett Schwartz, was drawn to the meeting because of previous decisions made by the commission that he did not necessarily agree with. He did not have any current issues to be addressed, instead just wanting to “see the inner workings of the Commission and understand their decision making process”. I have to say, if everyone was so involved with the local government as Mr. Schwartz, our society would see great improvement.

 ~~~~~~ A second report on the May 17 Commission meeting  ~~~~

By Olivia Tefft, Piedmont High School Senior –

    At 7:30 p.m. on May 17, 2017, six commissioners met for a Piedmont Recreation Commission meeting. The commissioners were:  Kobi Eshun, Carrie Graham Lee, Betsy Smegal Andersen, Chairwoman, Jeffrey Dorman, and Steve Roland.  Also, present was Recreation Director Sara Lillevand.

   The purpose of this meeting was to go over recreation issues in Piedmont, ranging from summer camps to the maintenance of public parks and fields. This meeting also touched upon public safety in the schools and on the streets of Piedmont.

   One of the main points of this conference was to inform the audience of the summer activities offered through the Piedmont Recreation Department. Sara Lillevand informed the commission and the audience of new programs, like Summerfest ‘17, an affordable summer camp program facilitated by Schoolmates, and Camp Hampton, which will utilize the newly renovated Hampton Field. Lillevand also pointed out that summer camp revenues have increased 22% this year, and over 3,000 participants are registered (76% Piedmont residents).

    Two audience members, Piedmont Seniors Chris Conn and Greg Wick, spoke to Lillevand about the issue of overstaffed PRD summer camps. She acknowledged the difficulty of parsing out the perfect amount of CITS [Counselor in Training Staff] for each summer camp, but also mentioned that this problem should be mitigated this year with the high summer camp enrollment.

    The Hampton Park Improvement Project was also discussed. Lillevand informed the audience that all of the basketball posts have been put up as of today, and that the tennis backboard was put up last week. Hunter Stern, an audience member and senior at Piedmont High School, asked about hate speech graffiti that this field might be subject to, considering the outbreak of hate speech at PMS and PHS. Lillevand told him that no hate speech graffiti had occurred yet, but a conversation definitely needs to take place for the maintenance of this park.

   I agree with Hunter – I definitely think this pristine field could suffer from hateful graffiti, and I think protective measures should be put in place to prevent something harmful like this.

   Some other smaller issues that were brought up were Linda Beach Play Field and Coaches Field Master Planning, as well as uneven pathways at Crocker Park due to old trees that push up the pavement.

    The “4 Corners” intersection was also addressed because safety issues for pedestrians and drivers have arisen due to this intersection. Krysia Olszewska, an audience member, spoke about this intersection, recounting how it is difficult to see cars on the right side of the road, and therefore improvements should be made.

    At the end of this meeting, I interviewed Commissioner Steve Roland. He has been involved with the Recreation Department since 1996, and was also a sports coach for his 3 children when they participated in rec sports. He wanted to stay involved in the community after they all graduated, and the Recreation Commission was the perfect extension to continue his civic involvement. The main issue he focused on is upgrading park facilities like Coaches Field and Beach Field. He understands the difficulties of these renovation as addressed in these meetings because of difficulty getting funding for these projects. He mentioned that Hampton Park was a combination of private donations, East Bay Regional Park Bonds, and City funds.  Coaches Field and Beach Field would require similar funding. The main step he is taking in addressing this issue is continuing to participate in these meetings and trying to raise awareness and funds for these projects.

The Recreation Commission meets once a month to discuss recreation issues.

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 11 2017

The Piedmont City Council continues the practice of working on the City Budget without benefit of recordings or broadcast. The public is welcome to come to the meeting and speak to the various issues related to the budget: capital expenditures, revenues, taxation, employee benefits, new projects, roadways, sidewalks, trees, recreation, public safety, Schoolmates, planning, sewers, or any other issue related to City budgetary matters.  

Special City Council Budget Meeting

Saturday, May 13, 2017

9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

East Wing, 801 Magnolia Avenue (across from Piedmont High School)

Agenda:

1. Overview of the Proposed FY 17-18 Budget by the City Administrator

2. Presentation by the CIP Review Committee of Project Proposals for FY 17-18

3. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 17-18

a. Police

b. Public Works

c. Recreation

d. Fire

e. Administration

f. Other Funds Budgets

City announcement:

The Piedmont City Council will consider the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 at three separate meetings. A Saturday work session will be held in the East Wing of 801 Magnolia Avenue on May 13, 2017 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Public hearings regarding the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Sewer Tax will be held during regularly scheduled City Council meetings on June 5 and June 19, 2017.

The public is invited to attend these meetings and speak to the City Council about spending priorities for the city in the coming year.  Click to visit the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget page, where all sections of the budget are available for download.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Interim Finance Director Jim O’Leary via email at joleary@ci.piedmont.ca.us or by phone at 420-3045 with any questions.

If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an e-mail to the City Council at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.