http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/07/11/briefs-portola-valley-may-delay-ballfield-renewal


Almanac

News - July 11, 2012

Briefs: Portola Valley may delay ballfield renewal

by Dave Boyce

Plans to renovate Ford (baseball) Field in Portola Valley will be shelved until early 2013 if the Town Council takes the advice of staff and rejects the four bids it received, all of which well exceeded the town's spending plans. The topic is on the council's agenda for July 25.

The council planned a budget of $481,443 for construction at the field, but the low bid came in at $587,500 from Suarez & Munoz Construction Inc. of Hayward. The other three were significantly higher.

Waiting until 2013 "will allow more time for the fundraising effort and allow staff an opportunity to rebid the project," Town Manager Nick Pegueros wrote in a July 6 report to the council.

Menlo Park's Sand Hill Foundation, on behalf of the family of Susan Ford, has offered to match public gifts up to a total of $100,000. Crucial state grants of about $232,000, uncertain until recently, won't expire until mid-2015, Mr. Pegueros said. The Alpine-West Menlo Little League, the only organized user of Ford Field, has donated $50,000 and has pledged another $50,000.

The Little League season normally starts in March, so a delay to "early 2013" could mean a partial upgrade that includes new dugouts and a new backstop, bleachers and batting cage. This option has come up in council discussions.

The original plans include re-grading and a new irrigation system. Such off-season work must be finished in time to avoid autumn/winter rains.

Ford Field is located at the corner of Alpine Road and Westridge Drive in Portola Valley.

Donated stock takes a dive

The town of Portola Valley has begun selling 100,000 shares of stock that were donated to the town to reserve naming rights for the renovated baseball field at Town Center.

In April 2008, the shares of CAMAC Energy — now listed under CAK — had a value of $2.3 million, but by the time selling restrictions were lifted, the stock had plunged in value, Councilman Ted Driscoll told the Almanac.

The town didn't need the cash and was advised to hold the stock, Mr. Driscoll said, adding: "In hindsight, I wish we had sold it earlier."

In May, the council authorized a broker to begin selling it. On June 25, the stock closed at 63 cents a share, according to an online quote. That would put the value of the donation at $63,000.

With naming rights for the ballfield set at $1 million, the field remains without one.

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