City Heads for Smith Field Park Improvements | Local News

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For decades, Smith Field Park has hosted countless baseball games and created countless memories for Coastside families. Now, following a proposed donation, the town of Half Moon Bay is planning an expensive upgrade to the beloved facility.

In June 2021, a Half Moon Bay Little League donor offered to replace Smith Field Park’s unpaved access road and parking lot. The donation prompted the city to undertake long-term planning and launch its Facilities Master Plan for Smith Field Park, which serves as a roadmap for strengthening the entire area.

“We hope the donor will continue to stay engaged in this process, but even if they don’t, it was the kick in the pants we needed to move forward and prioritize,” the deputy director said. of the city, Matthew Chidester. “Now we are moving forward with a plan that the community can support.”

Last week, the city’s parks and recreation committee approved the master plan recommendation for consideration by city council. Melonie Reynolds, project manager and landscape architect at Gates and Associates, pitched the proposal, and the ballpark estimate is over $16 million.

The concept is to remove Field 5 and replace Field 3 with a multipurpose grass pitch. The plan also calls for expanded parking for a larger dog park to the east of the fields. There’s also talk of a new “sports field” that could accommodate multiple types of fields. Planners designed a basketball and pickleball court and three sand volleyball courts. For this further development, the city’s director of public works, John Doughty, said it will likely be the final piece of the puzzle, as public education will be needed to determine which courts should be included.

The development would be divided into five phases. Initial work would consist of repaving the main parking lot, followed by the expansion of the dog park and playground, then the redesign of the baseball diamonds, and then new sports fields. The last phase, the grass pitch, is probably the most expensive at $4.9 million. After paving the parking lot, the order could be rearranged, Doughty said. Later phases are probably years away. City staff noted that the project will likely need grants and fundraising efforts, particularly from the Half Moon Bay Little League.

One consequence of the plan is that the horseshoe pits will eventually have to be removed, but the city intends to establish pits elsewhere and work with the Half Moon Bay Horseshoe Club, Doughty said. The club currently has an agreement with the city to play and maintain the stands at Smith Field. Staged development allows the pits to remain until the final phase is complete.

The revamped park would have trails near the dog park, more picnic areas, and the snack shack would be moved to the center of the three baseball fields.

Some residents and commissioners acknowledged that it was unfortunate that the park lost two of its baseball diamonds which are often full during tournaments. In 2019, one of the fields that needed to be moved had the entire infield replaced with dirt from Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. However, the consensus was that increased recreational activities for children and adults should compensate for lost fields.

“There will always be pain with these things, but with the trade-offs, the baseball folks are looking at three revised new fields in this plan,” Parks Commissioner Paulette Eisen said. “In addition, families can come and the youngest can play on the playground. This makes it a larger community sports complex. »

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