If playing fields don't belong in a park, where do they belong?

Field users from throughout the region are in support of creating an Eastshore State Park that will serve the needs of this highly urbanized area we call home. These needs include not only places for birds, open creeks and marshes but space for organized sports, places to walk dogs and have them run off leash as well as an abundance of boating activities.

Playing fields are open space and habitat. Migrating birds are known to rest on playing fields. Playing fields, like other open spaces, improve the quality of life, promote physical fitness and are amenities to the community. Playing fields afford youth and adults a location to appropriately release energy. At-risk youth benefit from playing organized sports. Playing fields provide the under-privileged access to a largely remote and rural State Park system. An urban park provides recreation for humans, habitat for wildlife and an opportunity for humans to learn about the regional wildlife and its struggle.

There is a playing field shortage throughout the San Francisco Bay region so even now teams from Concord, San Francisco and San Rafael travel to East Bay fields. The need is even greater than has been documented by our local communities. We truly have a regional problem, which calls for a state or regional response. An assessment done by the City of Berkley found this city alone needing 11 playing fields to meet current and projected community need. Other cities have come up with similar numbers and the total need, just for the cities that adjoin Eastshore State Park, approaches 40 fields. The proposed plan allows for only four.

A playing field takes two acres. In our urban locations this amounts to millions of dollars in land costs alone per field! Our city governments, many already struggling to meet budgets, simply cannot afford these costs.

Eastshore State Park is not a pristine wilderness or rare ecosystem. It's landfill. It is also land that has long been in the minds of cities, like Albany and others, to use for their playing field needs. In addition to the Albany Plateau we are seeking an additional eight to ten acres in Eastshore State Park for playing fields. Even with this slight change to the plan there are still acres and acres and acres of space for birds, marshes, and other uses; many more acres devoted to these uses than for playing fields.

If playing fields don't belong in a park, where do they belong?

Coalition for Park Access and Conservation