Creating a substitute sports field
Stonehouse Park will lose its main soccer field for a while, so the field across from Murieta Plaza is being groomed as a replacement.
[Corrected Jan. 4] It doesn’t look like much yet, but property behind the Country Store is being groomed as a playing field for Rancho Murieta’s Little Leaguers, soccer and lacrosse players.
Longtime Murietan Matt Corsaut said he got the owner of the property to allow use of the field for sports until the land is developed. It will be necessary this year while the Rancho Murieta Association does rehab work on the main soccer field at Stonehouse Park. Work at Stonehouse Park will begin when weather allows, RMA Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said last week. “It’ll be offline probably until the beginning of summer. ... This is going to be a pretty tough year because of us taking down that large field.”
[See comments for more information about the correction.]
Visitors to the Plaza have noticed work taking place across the street as RMA maintenance crews level the field to get it into playing condition. The existing manual-control irrigation system can be repaired and used, Hart said, and the field will be mowed and maintained by the RMA.
The work at Stonehouse Park will begin with relocating irrigation valves that are now in the playing field, where they pose a hazard to players. After that problem is fixed, several hundred cubic yards of a special compost/topsoil/sand blend will be brought in to amend the soil and top-dress the entire field, Hart said. The process will be repeated about a month later, with more fertilizer and additional grass.
By contrast, the soil in the field behind the Country Store is “probably the best we have anywhere inside Rancho Murieta,” Hart said. “It’s all a sandy loam soil.” The field was put into use for recreation decades ago, before the parks were created, he recalled. “It’s actually a pretty darn nice field. It’s certainly going to help fill that void that we have this year, that’s for sure.”
The property is part of the proposed Murieta Gardens, a 50-plus-acre commercial and residential project that’s currently going through the county planning approval process.
Considering the current state of the real estate market and the fact that new development in Rancho Murieta requires an expansion of the water treatment plant before it can go forward, the field could be available for quite a while. “Certainly the next couple seasons,” Hart said. “So we might as well utilize it for extra practice fields.”
I don't want to sound like Ebenezer Scrooge, but someone should ask why this money is being spent, and where it is coming from. Is this money coming from the Parks budget, RMA maintenance, or donated sources? I have always been uncomfortable with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on lights for this small group of soccer players. Now we are looking at further expenditures for this same influential group. Unless the soccer players are picking up the check for this project I am opposed to the use of RMA or park funds. What do you think?
I think this is fabulous! Those of us who have children who have grown up here involved in the sports programs for all the right reasons (to include keeping our children out of trouble and busy with proactive extracurricular activities) are thriilled. The recreation center never came to fruition and doesn't look like it will. I thru a pool in my backyard and all the kids in the neighborhood swim in it. The skatepark who knows where that's at. I bought a kicker ramp I drag out (major wieght) for my kids to play on/ with. Needless to say kids have always been inside and out in front of my house. I know what they are doing. My children have been involved in all aspects of the sports programs and now as teenagers are being driven to Elk Grove for Lacrosse and U-14 Soccer. There are so many complaints about the wrestless teenagers/pranks yet we balk at expanding our opportunities and property values to accomodate them. Know wonder they have such destructive behavior. And keep in mind how expensive it is for us to involve our children in these extracurricular activities. Believe me, I do without a lot to have them participate. Not every working family has the financial/transportation abiltiy to get them there or include them in these activities. I am happy to say that mine are well adjusted teenagers as a result. This is such a beautiful place and offers so much to all of us with all of our interests. That's why so many family generations live here. Let's continue to make it the best place to live in Sacramento County. Debbie Houdeshell
I understand the questioning of rehabilitating a soccer field in these tight economic times but maybe I can shed some light. The soccer field is in pretty bad shape and needs to be rehabilitated. Though it is called a soccer field and functions as such, it is also used by lacrosse, baseball, softball, Summerfest and Relay for Life as well as anyone who want to walk a dog or throw a frisbee or just enjoy some personal recreation to name a few users. These activities cause normal wear and tear and at some point the field has to be closed down and worked on.
The soccer club in RM provides a recreational soccer experience for about 200 RM families annually here. In addition hundreds of other families were able to have their child play soccer here who have aged out and we also get new families each year who are new to soccer. This does not appear to me to be a small group. Come out to Stonehouse on any Saturday during the season and it certainly doesn't look like a small group at all. These same families pay $125 per player each year and a portion of that money is given to RMA for use of the fields. Additional monies have been raised to improve the fields with lights. The lights have allowed extended use in the limited areas of parkland we have in RM. Not only has soccer used the lights but so have baseball, softball as well as the Boy Scouts who were able to attend a K-9 demonstration in the evening.
The fact is we do not have enough playing fields or developed parkland for all the groups wishing to utilize it for recreation. Rehabbing Stonehouse right now is the right thing to do and will allow everyone a safe playing surface to play on. If it were not to be rehabbed then in the very near future it would need to be shut down as it would be far too unsafe to let any sporting activity to take place on it.
Thanks for the concern and I hope that answers some of your questions.
RMSC Board Memeber
While I'm no longer actively involved in any of the youth sports organizations out here, I can tell you the Stonehouse "rehab" is much needed. Happy to see my dues going towards this project at long-last.
Bill as a long time resident I appreciate your desire to get information on why money is being spent for this project. I am very conservative on how I spend my money and I would expect our local board to do likewise. I also believe that you can't say no to everything that requires spending money and you can't please everyone. I think our board has made a good decision in moving forward on this project. As a resident and someone who uses this field I also think it is a needed and worthy project .
As you made a couple of assertions in your posting that were not accurate I do want to make sure you have the correct information about the field and lights. First the fields and lights serve more than a small group of soccer players, it serves three local leagues (little league, soccer and lacrosse) which combined have more than a thousand kids who belong. It also serves and is used for other events and groups, Summerfest and Walk for Life being the largest events. This usage is expected to grow by our community which, in my opinion, is a great thing. If you have not come down to watch game days (soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse) or attended events (Summerfest) at the park, you truly are missing out and you can not appreciate how many residents really use this ammenity.
Second, RMA contributed exactly $100K for the light project. The remainder of the expense (which did come to hundreds of thousands of dollars) was contributed by those same local leagues mentioned above and Summerfest. Most of the labor for the project was also donated by local residents. It was a pretty good investment of $100K by RMA and we now have an amenity that makes all of our community (and properties) better and more valuable. The light project was an example of what makes our community great (people who live here getting involved to make our community better for everyone). Our local leagues and Summerfest do projects such as this every year at their expense and also contribute many volunteer hours providing services that most communities do not have.
I want to close by voicing my appreciate for local resident Matt Corsaut for his help and actions in getting the temporary field for the upcoming year. His actions are what make our community special. Thanks.
Sam Somers Jr.
I think the most important piece of information coming out of this is the fact that a local resident, who, as an attorney, perhaps has some connections, was able to approach the current property owner and work out an agreement quietly. Oftentimes, when such things are aired in public, nothing comes to fruition. My hat is off to Mr. Coraut for stepping up to the plate!
Thank you for all the information about rehabbing the sports fields. There were a couple of questions that still need answering. First of all, who is paying for this work which must total in the tens of thousands of dollars? Was this approved by the RMA board or by the Parks committee? Secondly, is it high on the list of priorities for RMA funds.
I understand the energy that sports supporters bring to all of their projects and the fund raising that has been done on their behalf. Incidentially the first $100,000 for lights did not come from the RMA, it was diverted by the Parks committee from it's original use as a small park on the south. I have never felt comfortable with that action.
I do find it rather unpleasant to be attacked while trying to be a good citizen. I hope I misunderstood your intent.
Please don't see this as an attack. Only that those of us who have had and do have our children involved in these activities find it now very important to continue and grow. Having now been to several parks in Elk Grove with the Sheldon Soccer League and even the school fields for Pleasant Grove Football and Lacrosse it is quite clear how important it is for us maintain our fields. These soccer fields in Elk Grove are in poor shape, frightening to play on. We appreciated playing for Rancho Murieta Soccer having soccer practices in our backyard, close in proximity and a well maintained field. In addition, we struggle to practice all of the teams for example Lacrosse practiced at the now gone CRES field. The volunteerism involved to raise monies for all these leagues to include the Snack Shack at Stonehouse all contribute to the maintainance of these facilities. But yes, we definately can't afford the expense of it alone. We are greatful for all that Rancho Murieta Association and it's fundraisers Summerfest, Kiwanis, all the local businesses, etc do for the growth of our community. Come out on Opening Day of Baseball Watch the Fly By, Have A Hot Dog and Coke and enjoy a game or games and help support this beautiful place. Debbie Houdeshell
Several times in my life I have found myself opposing things that I favor. That is true in this situation as well. I think there can be a very good case made for spending this money. However, I am just asking if everyone involved followed all of the rules to get the job started. As far as I can tell, this project did not come before the RMA board, yet RMA equipment is apparently doing the work. The cost of dirt and sod and repairs is coming out of RMA accounts. I don't doubt that it will get approved. However I question whether that has been done. If I am wrong, please let me know. Just trying to be a good citizen.
I understand your concern Bill, but I don't think this is the right forum to answer your questions. Might I suggest you contact RMA.
While on the RMA BOD I was in support of expanding the use of our facilities at Stonhouse. This is one of the most used assets of our association and lighting it greatly enhanced its availability to our membership. The only RMA participation in maintaining this temporary field is cutting the grass on occasion. The renovation of the Stonehouse fields was approved and funded in the 2011 budget to the tune of $16,000. As the regular fields are going to be out of action for a while the youth sports organizations can use the alternate field too fill the gap. Any improvement of this field will be up to those people and organizations using it. Thanks go to Matt Corsaut for his involvement that has made this possible.
Adding further to Dick's comments, the rehab project was presented by Rob Hart and discussed by the Finance Committee at it's Sept 2010 meeting for consideration to be included in the 2011 budget in the amount of $16,000.
The source of the funds was the Exclusive Use account which is ear marked for common area improvements.
The recommendetion was approved and forwarded to the Board, which included it in the 2011 Budget.
As stated by most posters above this rehab was badly needed.
I hope this answers Bill Duncan's concerns.
More parks for us, more better. In fact, am all for all of Murieta a park for us to enjoy..or not. Applaud RMA Maintenance and, as usual, Rod Hart, for the most cost-effective approach to solving a temporary hinderance. Also like the inputs as to costs concerns to members. Always good to provide oversight and question to costs of anything. In this Parks area, history provides examples; e.g., why did ratepayers/members in all of Murieta pay for $750K Yellow Bridge renovation circa 1990, which PTF/RMCC owned and controlled, while excluding RMA members use, which continues? Why are RMA members paying for maintenance/irrigation of CALTRANS property along Hwy16/Jackson adjacent to "Berlin Wall" in South Murieta/PTF/Winncrest properties? All to say, easy to stamp good stuff, yet must monitor the real costs to all.
Bill, you did misunderstand my intent. Sorry if you took it as an attack. As for the $100K you are correct it did come from the park fund, but it had to be approved by RMA to use, so that it why I said it came from RMA. I do appreciate the watchful eye, but I also look for leadership in situations that benefit our community and make sense. What RMA is doing now makes sense to me and I think they (the board and Rod Hart) are showing leadership in moving forward with this project. (Another thanks to Matt for his help too) Sam
I believe the Yellow Bridge rehab was done in conjunction with laying new water pipes and those (along with another dozen or so things) were paid for out of of the South's Mello-Roos bonds. I continue to pay about $660/year on my property taxes as a South resident for those bonds. A number of the items funded benefitted all RM landowners; i.e., a new fire truck was purchased at a cost of about $250K. Whenever the "New North" comes on board, they in fact owe Winncrest or its successors a portion of the bonded indebtness funded by the South homeowners. Great question, though, about why RMA homeowners are precluded from using the yellow bridge if they are not country club members. . .hmmmm. . .
First of all, I am a supporter of updating the field and providing a back-up behind the gas station for the hundreds and hundreds of kids that use the Stonehouse fields each and every year. I would however have a major problem with Summerfest placing thousands of pounds of equipment, rides, vehicles, and three days of heavy pedestrian traffic on our brand new turf. It was already an issue prior to having the renovations on this and other forums. Time and energy (and money) is spent each year in rehabbing the field after the carnival. I have to assume with all of the alternate locations available, Summerfest could relocate for at least one year while everything on the field “takes root”.
I could not agree with you more Dave.
Summerfest is one of the best organizations we have in RM and certainly the youth and various athletic groups have benefited from their efforts.
I still think Summerfest could be relocated to Lake Clementia without too much difficulty. We already have a pretty large event on the Fourth of July that locates there and it seems to handle the crowds quite well.
CSD President Belton, since you zeroed in on the Yellow Bridge given as an example requiring funds expenditure oversight in any public projects, please allow me to expand:
As you know, according to records, Community Facilities District Mello-Roos #1 (CFD #1) was formed in 1991 for South properties, which was/is now paid by South Murieta homeowners. One item of work was $770,000 of the Mello-Roos Bonds sold, for replacement of the Yellow Bridge, with an estimated project cost of $770,000. After examination, it was determined rehabilitation for safety, earthquake protection and loads it would carry, would be satisfactory rather than replacement. The District then obtained a Letter of Credit from the Bonds to cover those rehabilitation costs.
Earlier, the 11Dec87 RMPI(PTF)/RMCSD Agreement reads "CSD is allowed use of the (Yellow) Bridge for up to four (utility) pipelines. RMPI(PTF) will maintain, repair and replace as necessary (the Bridge) to keep CSD access to facilities, with a 40-year term. Addition of a 4th pipeline will require $770,000 for work (the estimated replacement cost?). Of the (then) three pipelines, one delivers "effluent" to the North Course (an RMPI/PTF property), and another 12" line delivers water from the tennis courts to the South Starter Shack.. Addition of the fourth pipeline would be to provide fire protection for RMCC (an RMPI/PTF property)." The District's share/lease of that access was $200,000. From this, CSD Counsel in 1994 stated "the owner of the Bridge has a legal obligation to maintain the Bridge in a sound condition".
It was also specified in the project that the RMCC could change the relocation of pipes/utility lines on the Bridge in different spacing configurations to allow for golf carts and pedestrians. The contract was bid in 1994 and not awarded. In February 2000, the project was rebid, and was completed in September 2000. The work included the original scope of structural reinforcement (including 4th pipeline for RMCC/PTF fire protection?), joints replacement, sealing of bed, and stripping/painting. The pipes were not relocated, to allow for more lateral bed width for pedestrians, although they could have been.
So certainly Murieta South taxpayers should be questioning why they must continue to pay that portion of their Mello-Roos CFD #1 payment for Yellow Bridge work which solely benefits PTF/RMCC, while only one of the four pipelines benefits RMA, and while they are not allowed access to that Bridge. They should be questioning why that Bridge work awarded in 2000, was assessed against that $770,000 CFD #1 they pay, in bulk, and why the Bridge owner, PTF did not pay under legal obligation to do so.
Now as to "purchase of a $250,000 fire truck from that CFD #1" Mello-Roos Bonds, that is the first I have heard, which opens new questions.