The Tiburon Parks, Open Space and Trails Commission has called on city officials to look into sports and recreation use in South Knoll Park and McKegney Green.
The committee voted Tuesday to ask staff to investigate the feasibility of bringing beach volleyball courts to South Knoll Park. Commissioner Angela McInerney voted against the resolution; Commissioner Park Allen was absent.
In a separate resolution, commissioners voted unanimously to ask staff to develop a master plan for the future use of McKegney Green, a grassy area adjacent to the Old Rail Trail and near South Knoll Park.
The City Council approved plans in November to purchase four decommissioned water recycling ponds owned by the Richardson Bay Sanitation District adjacent to the green. The council rejected a suggestion to redevelop the ponds into beach volleyball courts, preferring instead to develop a master plan for the site.
McInerney praised the volleyball project but cautioned that it was one of many city park proposals presented to the committee. She said the committee should not commit to one project over another until staff had further clues as to which priority projects should be.
“We need plans, we need to stop approving things just because it’s right in front of us,” she said.
The volleyball presentation was made by Matt Hart, a local youth coach, and Celia Tolmie, a freshman at Branson School in Ross and a varsity indoor volleyball player.
Tolmie said the sport is growing in popularity and requires minimal development work. She said the rules were similar to indoor volleyball, but the field is 10% smaller and less likely to injure players. Several youth organizations in Marin County offer beach volleyball as an organized sport.
Tolmie said developing new sites would provide stable accessibility to the public. She said there is a court in Dunphy Park that is often in use, two courts in Piper Park that are often used for classes, private courts at College of Marin and one in Cove School that is not accessible during school hours.
Hart said the courts could be built into a depression in the ground, or “sandbox style” on the ground. Sand should be replaced every two years. It will take about two weeks to build the courts, Hart said. A court on a 50-by-80-foot lot was valued at $80,400. Two courts on a 90-by-80-foot lot were valued at $138,360.
A proposed maintenance budget was estimated at $1,500 per year. Sand replacement was estimated at $2,000 every two years, and nets and pile replacement at $2,000 every five years. Hart said the courts also offered income opportunities for private lessons or use by youth leagues.
Hart initially offered potential locations such as McKegney Green or South Knoll Park.
“It’s not a huge investment as far as real estate or expense,” Hart said. “We’re going to use it a lot.”
Commissioner Chuck Hornbrook asked if the Strawberry Recreation District might have plans to develop a court. He said timing would be critical in aligning the project with other city plans, including the planned purchase of the ponds at McKegney Green.
Ultimately, the committee chose to remove McKegney Green from the resolution regarding the volleyball courts. The volleyball presentation was preceded by a presentation about possible mountain bike recreation areas for young people. McInerney said the committee had heard presentations about amphitheatres, kayak launches, dog parks, bocce courts, picnic tables, community gardens and dog parks.
“My problem isn’t your presentation at all,” McInerney said. “My problem is more on the political back of things.”
David Eshoo, an associate engineer for the city’s public works department, warned the commission to consider a court’s proximity to groundwater, drainage and the shoreline. He said the project would have to go to the city council for consideration and would involve “a lot of community involvement”.
Eshoo also noted that the development of a master plan could run in parallel with the preparation of the updated general plan of the city, which is underway.
“I think it has to happen right now,” Eshoo said.