JPA Vote

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.




The Next Step

Hi folks,

The next thing that needs to happen is for the 5 City JPA Reps (Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, Emeryville & El Cerrito) to approve the City of Berkeley’s recommendation for a new field with a shock pad an cork infill. The JPA will meet this Wed, 5/24, to discuss Berkeley’s proposal. The JPA Reps will then take this information back to their city councils to discuss.

Next action items:
  • Please call or e-mail as many of your local city council members as you can, to ask them to support the City of Berkeley’s recommendation for the Gilman Fields 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 don’t reach them directly, leave a message!
  • If you live in Berkeley, let your council members know that you support the City’s proposal, and thank them for their leadership.

Here are the URLs for each city. Click on your city’s link to get the phone numbers and email addresses.

City of Berkeley Recommends Cork Infill Replacement w/Shock Pad

More good news!

Concentrated piles of tire crumb next to a goalpost on the north turf field

The City of Berkeley staff is recommending to the JPA (the five city consortium responsible for funding for Gilman Fields- Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond and Emeryville) that the Gilman turf gets replaced with a shock pad plus a cork (i.e. non crumb-rubber) infill.

The city’s full memo is posted here:

What’s Next?

The City of Berkeley’s recommendation is that the incremental
costs are divided among the five JPA cities on a pro-rated basis based
on the population of each city.  It is not yet clear if all five
cities will accept this approach or propose some alternative (e.g.
increased user fees, etc).

Our community’s voices are being heard

All of your letters, emails and petition signatures that we submitted to the city of Berkeley made a huge difference in getting this recommendation — great job everyone!

Mavericks Letter to JPA and City of Berkeley

2014125499f2fc1a283We 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.

Thank you.

Board of Directors, Mavericks Soccer Club

Letter of support from ABSC for shock pad at Gilman

ABSCGood news!  Toney Wright and the ABSC Board of Directors have written a letter to the JPA supporting the City of Berkeley and their consultant’s recommendation to install a shock pad at Gilman. Shock pads reduce concussions along with knee and ankle injuries and are required for fields with non-crumb rubber infill. Please see letter below.

JPA meeting date to vote on the turf replacement project was rescheduled to 5/24/17.

We’re hoping other clubs will write letters of support as well! Please encourage your sports club or school to write a letter to the JPA endorsing the installation of a shock pad under the Turf carpet, and let us know so we can monitor the progress! Thanks!

See letter below.

Continue reading “Letter of support from ABSC for shock pad at Gilman”

Contact your city to ask for a safe field

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 clerk@cityofberkeley.infofsave

El Cerrito – Cheryl Morse

Richmond – Pamela Christian

Albany – no direct email forNicole Almaguer but online form is available at

Emeryville –

A safer field – how much more would it really cost?

Here is an estimation of the incremental cost of Safer Gilman Turf on a per athlete basis:
•  approximate incremental cost of shock pad and related work = $300K
•  cork infill costs the same or less than crumb rubber
•  a shock pad has a 16-year warranty
•  assume that the Gilman Turf user groups represent a total of 10,000 athletes
$300K / 10,000 athletes = $30 / athlete
$30 / 16 years = about $2 / year / athlete
We don’t yet know if these incremental costs will be paid by the JPA cities, user group fees, other means, or a combination of sources.
Even if it’s $400K and 8,000 athletes, that’s $50 /athlete, or about $3 / year / athlete.
This is a really good deal in exchange for improved safety and reduced environmental impact.  Furthermore, and perhaps most important to the five cities, it’s a cheap way to reduce potential liabilities, by adhering to current construction standards that call for shock pads, and by applying the precautionary principle and avoiding crumb rubber.  It’s especially important to avoid crumb rubber now, as tires manufactured in China, with higher levels of toxic substances, are moving into the supply of pellets.