Please attend your local city council meetings (see below for schedule) to ask the council members to support the City of Berkeley’s recommendation for the GilmanFields renovation with a shock pad and cork infill. Mention that you live in their city and you hope they will support the safest option for Gilman Fields.
If you live in Berkeley, let your council members know that you support the City’s proposal, and thank them for their leadership.
City Council Meetings
Date: Monday, 6/5/2017 7:25 pm
Location: City Council Chambers
1000 San Pablo Avenue
Albany, California 94706
Date: Tuesday, 6/13/17 7:00 pm
Location: City Council Chambers
2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
Date: Tuesday, 6/6/2017 7:00 pm
Location: City Hall, City Council Chambers
10890 San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito, CA
Date: Tuesday, 6/6/2017 7:16pm
Location: Emeryville City Hall
1333 Park Avenue
Emeryville, CA 94608
Agenda: http://emeryville.legistar1.com/emeryville/meetings/2017/6/1465_A_City_Council_17-06-06_Agenda.pdf (see page 4 for Gilman Field renovation)
Date: Tuesday, 6/6/2017 6:30pm
Location: City Hall, Council Hall of Justice building
440 Civic Center Plaza.
Things keep moving in the right direction, but we still have more work to do! At last Wednesday’s JPA meeting, the members of the JPA voted unanimously to support the Shock Pad and Cork infill, but they could not commit to the funds without presenting the proposal to their City Councils. While we are super excited about this progress, the decision won’t be final until passed at the Berkeley City Council meeting in late July (date still pending).
Please go to your next city council meeting to ask for their support. Show them that their residents play at Gilman! We will post meeting dates early this week.
Please call or email your city council members to support the funding for the field renovation, as outlined in option 2B of the proposal! (See 5/23 post for city websites) We also may need to do some fundraising.
We are now happy to share a letter from the Mavericks Board of Directors.
Dear Members of the JPA for the Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex:
Mavericks Soccer Club is a Berkeley-based soccer club serving boys and girls, ages 9-19, and includes hundreds of families who live within the five JPA cities. We are writing to raise our concerns regarding the condition of the Gilman fields, aka Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex.
We are aware that the JPA plans to replace the current artificial turf later this year. We support that decision. Later in this letter we will recommend that the JPA install a “shock pad” beneath the new turf to make the new fields safer.
But we believe there is a potentially more urgent matter. We have been recently informed that a 2012 study of the field’s surface hardness, known as GMAX testing, concluded that sections of the field may not be within safe limits. A GMAX rating in excess of 200 is considered unsafe. There were two zones at the Gilman fields with GMAX ratings that exceeded 200 in 2012. To our knowledge, no further study has been done since then. We believe this study should be updated promptly to assess whether the fields pose an unacceptable safety risk, and if so, whether they should be closed before construction begins on the new fields.
As for the new fields, we strongly recommend that the JPA install a shock pad beneath the new turf to mitigate risks of concussions and other impact-related injuries. There is growing data and understanding of the dangers of concussions, both to adults who use the fields but especially to our children. We therefore believe an ethical imperative exists to mitigate these risks through currently available materials, technology and best practices, including installation of a shock pad.
In addition to making the fields safer, installation of a shock pad will allow the JPA to select an alternative to crumb-rubber infill. While potential risks associated with crumb-rubber requires further research, the planned turf replacement, along with a shock pad, provides an opportunity to install a comparably priced “green” alternative infill.
Concussions can be permanently debilitating. Although not all risks of injury can be eliminated from rigorous sports, the JPA has both an opportunity, and an obligation, to prioritize safety when considering the current use of the Gilman fields, and planning for the next 10+ years of use of these fields. Therefore, we urge the JPA (1) to promptly commission an update to the 2012 GMAX study to determine whether the current fields can continue to be used safely before they are replaced; and (2) to install a shock pad beneath the new artificial turf.
Board of Directors, Mavericks Soccer Club
Will we have a safe field at Gilman? The choice of infill material will be decided on April 27 at the next JPA meeting by these 5 cities: Berkeley, El Cerrito, Albany, Richmond and Emeryville. Next it will go to the City Council for final approval in June. Please contact your city representatives and encourage them to support a safe and durable new playing field with non-crumb rubber and a shock pad. Email addresses below for City Clerks, who will then distribute it to appropriate city contacts.
Berkeley – Berkeley Clerk email@example.com
El Cerrito – Cheryl Morse firstname.lastname@example.org
Richmond – Pamela Christian email@example.com
Albany – no direct email forNicole Almaguer but online form is available at http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=1376&ftitle=City+Clerk+
Emeryville – firstname.lastname@example.org
A few of our members met with Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) representatives from the governing bodies of Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Emeryville, and Berkeley on 3/16. This group makes decisions regarding managing the Gilman fields. In addition to the city govt representatives, the ASFU and some club and school representatives are on this committee. The City of Berkeley Project Team presented preliminary recommendations and budget scenarios for Gilman Fields.
We formally introduced ourselves as Safe Gilman Turf and presented our hope for a non-toxic infill material.
The outcome of this meeting was fundamentally positive, and gave us hope that the JPA sees that a more natural product is more viable and affordable. This group will meet again in April or May to make a final decision about which product to select. To learn more about the discussion that took place at this meeting feel free to contact us.