Atherton council may be near deal on Little League park facilities


Menlo-Atherton Little League and the town of Atherton may be close to an agreement that will allow the sports league to build new facilities and improve the playing field in Holbrook-Palmer Park.

The City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 15, will review and possibly approve a set of requirements, conditions and constraints for the project, which was overwhelming approved by voters in 2012.

According to a staff report by Mike Kashiwagi, community services director, the approval of Measure M cleared the way for M-A Little League to build permanent covered seating for 200 spectators and covered dugouts. The ballot language for the measure, however, doesn't specify the number of spectators to be accommodated with the seating structure, nor does it mention dugouts.

Measure M also allowed the building of restrooms facilities, and improvements to the existing field that has hosted ballgames for a number of years.

The project also will include installation of an electronic scoreboard, foul poles and fencing. M-A Little League will pay for the project, and contribute additional funds for park beautification and to improve the park's tennis courts. Although the ballot measure garnered the support of 75 percent of voters, hammering out the the project's scope and details has involved rigorous back-and-forth among planning commissioners, council members, staff and Little League officials.

At the council's Sept. 4 meeting, the council asked the sports organization to reconsider the proposed size of the seating structure, and to consider the possibility of making the scoreboard and foul poles removable rather than permanent, among other suggested tweaks to the project. Town staff has since been meeting with Little League officials to work out a final plan.

At the Jan. 15 meeting, the council will review a staff report that indicates the Little League doesn't support reducing the seating structure's size, and that it was unable to find a removable scoreboard that met its requirements. But the league agreed to modify its original plan for foul poles.

Also on the agenda, the council will discuss a recommendation to increase Recology green waste rates, and possibly approve a contract for event services in Holbrook-Palmer Park.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road, in the Town Center.

Click here to view the agenda and staff reports.


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Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jan 15, 2014 at 9:18 am

> The approval of Measure M cleared the way for M-A Little
> League to build permanent covered seating for 200
> spectators (a structure that will include covered dugouts),

This is a very misleading statement. The measure did NOT "clear the way" for seating 200 spectators. Here is the measure that was voted upon:

“Should the Town permit the Menlo-Atherton Little League to improve the baseball field and surrounding areas at Holbrook-Palmer Park,
including covered seating for spectators, an improved playing area for children, and new restrooms for all park users, using private funds

I voted FOR the above measure, both because I think some improvement for the park AS A WHOLE was good for all, and that any changes would not adversely affect usage for other, equally worthy groups. And I voted for the measure because the "impartial analysis" pointed out that LL would still be bound by the the planning committee.

But it makes no guarantees that LL can build a structure that can seat 200 spectators. And it makes no guarantees that seats will be 36-inches wide (!!!!!), which is double the typical size for seating. And I hope the planning committee and the council hold their ground on permanent fencing.

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Posted by Jim Long
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm

This seems like good news even to this Alpine Little League parent/coach. The article did not mention whether the outfield fence would be permanent. I have mixed feelings about that but a movable fence (semi-permanent for just baseball season) would be ideal because HP park is such a wonderful large space it would be a shame to have it divided all year long. St. Francis uses such a fence if anyone is interested.

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Posted by LL Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

I am a big supporter of little league but the size and scope of this grandstand is not what we voted for. Their is no need to have a grandstand that big or to keep equipment underneath. It will be out of proportion with the character of the park and only be used for 4 months a year. I hope the city counsel keeps their focus on the long term benifits of open space and looks to build a nice, safe, reasonably sized ball park for all to enjoy.

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