Barney Schwartz Park softball fields evaluated for safety

PASO ROBLES — Paso Robles City Council met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 1. Council heard an evaluation of Barney Schwartz Park softball fields, public hearings on district maps, Community Development Block Grant Program, and the Annual Action Plan. 

After concerns from residents on the conditions of the Barney Schwartz Park softball fields, City staff brought in a third party to evaluate the conditions of the fields. SSA Landscape Architects presented their evaluation of the fields. They specialize in the design of outdoor spaces, including baseball and softball fields.

The evaluation process and findings included visual inspection, depth investigation, slope analysis, ribbon test, soils lab test, and industry-standard comparison. Their findings were the following:

  • Depth analysis: fields ranged from 4 – 8 inches in depth (typical range should be 4 – 6 inches)
  • Slope analysis: slopes ranged between 0.2 percent to 1.6 percent (ideal slopes 0.5 percent)
  • Ribbon test: high content of sand and silt with lesser amounts of clay consistently for all fields
  • Soil analysis: 0 percent, 69 percent sand, 19 percent, 13 percent clay

General findings showed that the fields were in good condition and well maintained on the day of the inspection. The depth of the fields were consistent with similar fields. The existing surface was considered safe, and the applied infield mix is widely used and recommended by Major League Baseball teams.

Despite that, SSA Landscape Architects did observe some field soil conditions were hard and compacted. They recommended the City maintain proper water moisture for the fields and use a nail drag to loosen the infield skin. Also recommended was the use of a clay-based infield conditioner to mitigate infield compaction.

The City then moved on to two public hearings. The first, Receive Community Input Regarding Proposed Draft District Maps, Composition of District Boundaries, and Communities of Interest. 

On Apr. 16, the City of Paso Robles adopted Ordinance 1071 N.S. establishing by-district elections for four council members, defining district boundaries, and scheduling the order of election for each district. Under the act, the council will draw and adopt boundaries using the following criteria in the listed order of priority:

  • Comply with the federal requirements of equal population and the Voting Rights Act
  • Geographically contiguous
  • Undivided neighborhoods and “communities of interest” (socio-economic geographic areas that should be kept together)
  • Easily identifiable boundaries
  • Compact (do not bypass one group of people to get to a more distant group of people)
  • Shall not favor or discriminate against a political party

The council received a report from staff on the redistricting process and draft maps. This is the third public hearing for boundary maps. The first was Aug. 3, 2021, and the second was Oct. 5, 2021. There was no public comment during the hearing.

Council voted 3-2 (Fred Strong and Maria Garcia voting no) to recommend the green map for further discussion. See attached map image for the suggested green map.

Next, council held another public hearing for Approval of the 2022 Community Development Block Grant Program and the Annual Action Plan.

The City receives its allocations of Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds through San Luis Obispo County. The County takes the lead role in the administration of the CDBG program, including the preparation, adoption, and annual updating of a “Consolidated Plan,” which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approves, following adoption by the County Board of Supervisors. Under a cooperation agreement with the County, the City retains the right to decide how its allocation of CDBG funds will be used.

At the Dec. 7, 2021, City Council meeting, the City reviewed all the applications, including the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition’s (5CHC) request, and directed staff to include the following list of applications in the Final Action Plan recommended to the Board of Supervisors. Council direction included funding the $3,500 5CHC grant by reducing the PSHH grant by $3,500 as shown below:

  1. Non – Public service projects 
    1. Sidewalk and Ramp infill (17th Street) $152,856
  2. Public services
    1. PSHH – Supportive Housing $6,185
    2. 5CHC – Homeless Services $3,500 
    3. ECHO – Homeless Services $12,095 
    4. CAPSLO – Adult Day Care $13,495
  3. Administration $16,462 
    1. Total (a+b+c) $204,593

Option Three: Allocate as in option 2, but equally reduce the initial three public service grants by $1,167 to fund the $3,500 5CHC grant.

Option Two was: Allocate $152,856 to the 17th Street sidewalk and ramp project, $35,275 for the four public service applications (by reducing People Self Help Housing allocation to $6,185), and $16,462 of the allocation for the administration of the CDBG program.

Council approved Option Three with a 4-1 vote, Councilman Steve Gregory voting no.

The next regular City Council meeting is Tuesday, Mar. 15 at 6:30 pm.