PIEDMONT -- Concerned about the condition of aging Hampton Field, three sports groups pledged a total of $250,000 at Monday's City Council meeting toward renovating the popular 41-year-old park.
The Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization, which had earlier wanted to build a youth sports complex at Blair Park, is pledging $150,000. The Piedmont Baseball/Softball Foundation and Piedmont Soccer Club are donating $50,000 each. The ladies tennis group is pledging $4,000 and Skyline Lacrosse pledged an unannounced amount at Monday's meeting.
The city has $507,000 in Measure WW park bond money that it must use -- or lose -- by 2018. Hampton Field is widely used by soccer, baseball, basketball and tennis players. It suffers severe drainage problems and water cascades from the tennis courts above onto the playfields, making them soggy and muddy.
The city enlisted Harris Landscape Design to do a comprehensive study of the park's needs. The total project -- replacing turf, improving accessibility, installing a drainage system, resurfacing the tennis courts and more -- would cost approximately $1.2 million.
The work is proposed in two phases, but the council embraced the idea to do it all at once to minimize the impact to neighbors and the loss of use, plus maximize bidding opportunities for companies to do a larger project.
Piedmont would have to generate approximately $674,000 more to finance the entire project, which has been on hold for some 10 years because of a lack of funding.
City Administrator Paul Benoit said there is $1.7 million in unallocated money for facilities maintenance, with some general fund reserves. But the city wants to pursue more opportunities for public-private partnerships before committing to footing the remaining balance.
"The park is old and tired and needs a face-lift," Councilman Bob McBain said. "I know every rut in that field. The generous contributions show the spirit in Piedmont. It is very gratifying."
The council approved Harris submitting plans and specifications for the entire project for bidding purposes. The project will now go out to bid. Once bids are in the city will be in a better position to assess the financial ramifications.
"It is cost effective to do it all at once," Councilman Jeff Wieler said, adding he is concerned about a major hit to city finances.
But Councilwoman Teddy King said the park "is an investment for our future. I am up at Hampton every week. It is the jewel of the town."