• Stoneman Athletic Field Back In Play for City Council at Lower Price


    A proposed athletic field tabbed for the former site of Stoneman Elementary School has undergone a remarkable value engineering effort that has lowered the projected cost by more than $650,000 and could soon be put into the rotation by AYSO, SMCAA and other groups looking for field space.

    Once carrying a hefty price tag north of $700,000, the 30’ x 60’ natural grass surface could be used for soccer, flag football and other activities according to San Marino City Councilman Dennis Kneier, who would like to see the first games played by the time the city’s official centennial rolls around in late April, 2013.

    Improvements to the bid have been facilitated by San Marino resident Harold Young, CEO of a Southern California landscape engineering firm, who reacted to an article in the September 13, 2012 edition of The Tribune that pegged the cost of the field at over $500,000. The current cost would be $55,000, according to Kneier, which includes a 10% contingency and significant in-kind labor contributions by city staff. At their Wednesday, September 12 meeting, the city council agreed to “receive the staff report and file it.” The mothballs might soon be dusted off, if Kneier can find a little more than  $20,000 in donations or private funding for the proposed “Centennial Field.”

    “The sense of the council was we want to go forward with the field provided there is support from the community,” Kneier told The Tribune yesterday.

    Expansion of the city’s athletic fields and facilities has been high on The Tribune’s list of priorities and a major condition for city council and school board endorsements for prospective candidates from the editorial board. Kneier has proposed several projects for the council’s Making San Marino Better docket, which can be accessed by any council member.

    Kneier has asked for financial assistance from the Rotary Club of San Marino. If that organization gives the green light, the city council could take a vote on the matter at their January meeting.

    The council has also discussed a landscaping project at the Thurnher House or a possible $100,000 improvement to Lacy Park playground equipment.

    The Tribune has supported proposed efforts to construct a community center near Huntington Middle School that would include a gymnasium and swimming pool as well as efforts aimed at constructing a sixth tennis court and repositioning the swimming pool at San Marino High School.

    In an editorial published almost a decade ago, The Tribune called upon the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens to construct soccer fields in the undeveloped nothwest area of their grounds to “let the neighbor kids come in and play.”

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