How To Solve Field Shortage

It’s difficult to build “fields of dreams” in the Oakland Hills.  Based on our recent survey, Montclarions and Piedmonters recognize the field shortage but also want to keep development to a minimum.  They believe that current parks, schools and colleges could be better scheduled for league sports.

Montclair Soccer Club

Is There A Shortage?

About 60 percent of survey takers said there are not enough youth soccer fields while 40 percent felt otherwise.  We saw similar results for little league baseball and adult sports leagues.

The contention becomes more clear when asking whether we should “make do” with current field options.  Some 46 percent disagree/strongly disagree and 45 percent agree/strongly agree – quite the horse race!

Where To Play Sports

Where To Play Sports

Despite their disparate attitudes, respondents seem interested in solving the field shortage and moving beyond the status quo for sports practices and games.

Over 70 percent said they agree/strongly agree that we should use our public schools and colleges more, while 50 percent want to approach private schools and colleges as well.

Locals also are willing to burn fossil fuels, and drive around Oakland or even Berkeley as needed.  When it comes to traipsing to Contra Costa County, however, respondents are less eager to go through the tunnel.

Scheduling City Parks

The survey also sought to understand optimal uses of the Montclair and Piedmont parks and their existing play fields.  We asked what percentage of time should be devoted to league play on weekdays and weekends for all five parks.

Over 40 percent of respondents want to schedule 50-74 percent of city field time for league purposes.  Another 20 percent suggest 75 percent or more on weekdays, jumping to 30 percent on the weekends.

Pay More For Play

Besides using the public parks more intensively, survey takers are willing to open up their wallets in return for more play time – and over a third look at nearby public and private colleges to close the gap.

In fact, sixty percent said they would agree/strongly agree to pay club or use fees to secure schools and colleges. These fees would help maintain fields in return for play time, which might be possible to arrange…or a pipe dream.

More info:   The Field Survey is reported in two postings.  See the first report about Blair Park here.

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To Blair Or Not To Blair?

If you have been a reader here, then you know about the Blair Park controversy.  While many Montclarions and Piedmonters want to keep the Park undeveloped, there are others who are seeking additional sports fields particularly for soccer players.

We decided to conduct a survey about all local sports fields and uses, and respondents were not shy.  The results are split into three posts because there’s too much to cover, and today you can catch the top-line results about Blair as well as survey participants.

Playing Fields At Blair

To Blair or not to Blair?

We started by asking a general question about development, and 56 percent said Blair Park should remain “as is” today.  Over 60 percent of respondents are against the Blair field construction as well.

At the same time, more than a quarter of survey-takers would like to see playing fields built at Blair Park.  Our survey isn’t a scientific sample, but we think passionate supporters from both sides are speaking here – and these ratios have been holding up since the survey launch.

If the fields were built, then we wanted your opinions about helping players cross Moraga Ave.  Respondents were evenly split on whether constructing a traffic light was a good idea, if this were possible to do.  The concrete overpass seemed less appealing, with 51 percent giving this bridge a thumbs-down.

We also tested the temperature about funding sources, and that brought out the nayer-sayers generally.  It turns out that the funding source didn’t push the needle too much, but nine percent moved to “no” if the fields were theoretically constructed with private funds alone.

Who took the time to respond?

Older Montclarions and Piedmonters participated in the survey, in what appear to be equal numbers.  Nearly three-fourths of respondents were between 40-59 years old, consisting of half in their 40s and a quarter in their 50s.

The split between sexes was almost even, with 48 percent male and 52 percent female survey-takers.  We had at least 200 visitors to the survey, but around a quarter answered all the questions.

Interestingly, the survey takers were not all sports mothers and fathers.  Exactly 52 percent were league parents and 35 percent were organizers of league sports.  About a quarter were parents of high school players as well.  Some five percent were athletic kids (ages 13+) who chimed in, too.

Park Visits by Respondents

How often do you visit parks?

We wanted to know if respondents actually used or showed up at local parks.  Not surprisingly, 46 percent of respondents sit on the league sidelines at least once/week.  Some 37 percent said they also play weekly or more, and we suspect some parents fall into both groups.

Yet there is more informal use of the parks as well, with nearly a third showing up to play with their families or friends.  Over 80 percent reported visits to City and East Bay parks, with 50 percent visiting at least weekly.  While this strikes us as very high, perhaps this survey attracts more sporting Sams than average Joes.

Stay Tuned:   Please stop by this weekend, when we’ll discuss survey results about all local fields and their appropriate uses.

Take Survey: All About Local Sports Fields

After many inputs from Montclarions and Piedmonters, we are finally launching a survey about local sports fields.  There has been a lot of heat generated on this subject, especially fueled by the potential development of Blair Park – and this survey attempts to quantify the different attitudes towards fields available at parks, schools and local colleges.

How should we handle the demand for local playing fields?  Are there fields that aren’t used to capacity?  Should we build new fields and where?  Let us know in the next few minutes – click here.

Survey Guy

Our city parks struggle to accommodate all the sports leagues.  Mark Zinns, recreation supervisor at Montclair Park, explained “there is a large demand by groups for exclusive use of fields to run their leagues.  Not only does this put a big physical impact on the fields’ health and resiliency, but also limits when the general public can use a field for family or pick-up games.”

Yet local Andy Kleiber said the Montclair Soccer Club is already challenged by the shortage of fields, and actually reduces its practice times.  NancyL, posting on our social network, added that “we have to struggle with field assignments for practices (if there are fields available) as well as deal with gopher holes, sprained ankles, constant trash pickup, etc. etc. on the fields in Oakland.”

We could turn to our community colleges and their facilities, claimed Nancy.  “We need to press our elected officials, the leadership at the Peralta Colleges who receive funding from our taxes, and our schools too – let us use the fields, let us help maintain the fields (even if we are not in the union) and increase the transparency of field assignment processes!”

How do you feel about the local parks and fields?  Are there specific arrangements you would suggest between the users and owners of sports fields?  Please let your voice be heard, whether you are an active soccer or baseball parent – or aren’t involved in the sports scene at all.  Thanks for your help!