The city of Piedmont and the Piedmont Unified School District have concluded that their gym floors, tennis courts, track, and artificial turf fields are going to be very expensive to replace. Neither entity has the revenues to cover the costs, and they don't want to have to scramble for dollars when the facilities inevitably wear out.
Because city programs use school facilities and school programs use city facilities, City Administrator Geoff Grote, Mayor Dean Barbieri, Superintendent Connie Hubbard, and former Board of Education President Ray Gadbois devised a plan to collect and save money for replacement costs together.
An estimated $175,000 would have to be set aside annually to replace all the turf, floors, and courts in Piedmont every eight to 14 years. That doesn't include the funds that will be needed to pay for new turf at Beach Field and Witter Field, which are due for replacements in roughly the next three years and six years respectively. It also doesn't include any future costs should plans to install artificial turf at Coaches Field or Blair Park be approved.
To generate most of the money needed to keep athletic venues in good condition, the city and the school district are hoping to collect an additional $25 per season from each participant in the youth sports programs run by the Recreation Department, the schools, and community organizations like the Piedmont Soccer Club and the Piedmont Baseball-Softball Foundation.
City Council supported moving forward with the idea for a joint Athletic Facilities Preservation Fund at its Oct. 3 meeting. The proposal is on the school board's agenda for Wednesday, Oct. 12.