Atherton new Little League facilities due to open in April


The new Little League field and grandstand in Atherton's Holbrook-Palmer Park should be completed in time to begin games on the field in early April, with official opening ceremonies in May, town and Little League officials say.

When completed, the new Little League field, which will be called Homer Field at Willie Mays Ballpark, will have a covered grandstand designed to seat as many as 200 spectators, covered dugouts, a permanent scoreboard, bathrooms, foul poles, storage and an improved field.

The project was paid for entirely by the Little League, which also donated money to the town for other park and tennis court improvements.

The Little League field was one of the measures put before Atherton voters in 2012, along with the issue of building a new library in the park. More than 75 percent of voters approved the Little League project, but after the vote, debate arose over just what the voters had said yes to.

A group of Atherton residents, led by Wally Sleeth, has continued to protest aspects of the project even though construction is well underway. Mr. Sleeth's latest request is for the town to make sure the finishes on the grandstand fit in with those of other structures in the park.

City Manager George Rodericks said an ad hoc council committee, consisting of council members Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest, examined the final plans to make sure they are compatible with the historic character of other park improvements and will make sure the finishes used are those approved by the town.

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16 people like this
Posted by Grateful
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Hooray! This is wonderful news. I am deeply appreciative of this donation, which improves the quality of our Town without using taxpayer funds. We are so very fortunate!

Like this comment
Posted by Walter Sleeth
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:04 pm

The article glosses over the main issue raised by a number of residents. While the article does mention the concerns that many residents have with ensuring that “the finishes on the grandstand fit in with those of the other structures”, the more important point is the negative impact of this large structure on the traditional rural nature of the Park. The stadium should now be ‘camouflaged’ as much as possible.

The last paragraph referencing an “ad hoc” meeting by Ms. Lewis, Mr. Wiest, and presumably Mr. Rodericks raises the issue of a possible Brown Act violation. The sub-committee should have reviewed their findings and discussed them in a public meeting; they did not. Just having “a cupola, weather vane, and a widow’s walk” is a rather simplistic way to meet the historical heritage requirement. Yes, the stadium will look like something out of 1890’s, but will stick out like ‘a sore thumb’. Some sense of the appropriate size must be attempted, and that is best done now with colors, which camouflage the structure.

Surely the members of the Town Council are aware of the continuing controversy over the Council’s 3-2 approval two years ago to accept the MPALL plans and construction of the ‘bleachers/stadium’ in Holbrook Palmer Park. There is a ‘silent majority’, who found the Council’s action, ignoring the Town Planning Commission without sharing in public what contravening evidence the three individuals relied on in making their decision, inconsistent with the Council’s regularly expressed desire to seek broad outreach.

However, continuing to worry over all this won’t rectify the situation; the Stadium drastically impacts the historical natural setting of the Park that a large majority of our residents love and take pride in. Now is the time for either the Council’s personal oversight or delegation to the Parks and Recreation Committee to oversee/direct the finishing touches. Great care should now be taken with regard to the paint and varnish used to finish the project. The roofing materials and color of the roof should also be carefully chosen. This should not be left to the Little League’s discretion. The goal should be to camouflage the structure so that it blends in to the natural environment of Holbrook Palmer Park. The Little League now has what it has been working for over 10 years to obtain, the largest stadium in Southern San Mateo County; now it should be willing to accept ‘camouflaging’ of the structure. Now is the time to lessen the possibility, that when completed, residents will conclude that the three Councilpersons erred when they pushed the project ahead. The Council can still help to make the Stadium less obtrusive and that should be done.

6 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 7, 2015 at 6:11 pm

I was a bit skeptical of the ballpark project, but having seen it in construction, it seems pretty harmless... I don't quite follow how these viewing stands will be ruining the "rural nature" of the park while the larger and uglier tennis courts behind them do not.

It honestly seems like it could be a nice addition to the park.

Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 12, 2015 at 1:18 pm

They don't look like something for kids. Is bigger always better?

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