Robb Field Recreation Alliance Forms to Push for Changes to New Park Plan

by on April 24, 2023 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

A network of three groups has formed to push for changes at Robb Field as the City updates the park’s plan. The three make up Robb Field’s “largest users” and their coalition is called the Robb Field Recreation Alliance. The groups are the Peninsula Tennis Club, Peninsula Youth Softball Association, and Albion Soccer Club.

According to a joint statement, RFRA’s main priorities for the park and the updated General Development Plan include:

  • Improved, energy-efficient, and community-friendly lighting;
  • Safer playing surfaces;
  • Adequate and hospitable restrooms;
  • Accessible and paved parking.

The statement claims that due to “understaffed City employees,” the deterioration of buildings, infrastructure, and athletic fields,” that “much of the park is unsafe….”

Here is more of their statement (reposted from The Beacon):

“Robb Field has an incomparable location and footprint that makes it capable of hosting a wide array of recreational and athletic events and training. Due to the outdated layout of Robb Field, and in spite of the hard-working, understaffed City employees who maintain the park, the deterioration of buildings, infrastructure, and athletic fields have made much of the park unsafe for many recreational activities and for the thousands of individuals who use park fields and facilities daily.

“With the assistance of architect Garrett van Leeuwen, who has expertise in education and sports projects, a conceptual drawing has been developed that illustrates how athletes, including pickleball enthusiasts, can find more recreational opportunities at Robb Field, while decreasing space conflicts and activating parts of the park that need improvement or are considered unsafe. The Alliance’s proposed park enhancements to be considered in the planning process are intended to expand recreational opportunities and restore community pride to one of the finest parks in San Diego.”

Representatives of each of the groups made their statement.

Todd Sprague, Peninsula Tennis Club president:

“Each (City) park has a general development plan that outlines what activities can go on, and periodically they make new activity updates to that plan.” Sprague pointed out Robb Field’s General Development Plan is more complicated than some because “of the different sporting activities that go on making planning more challenging.”

The Beacon reported: Sprague said the playing field at Robb is different for tennis than for Robb’s two other main user groups. He noted the soccer and softball groups operate under a general permit wherein the City “takes care of the fields they play on and the lights they use.” However, he added the tennis club operates instead under a special use permit, which requires them to “take care of our own facilities including our restrooms and our little clubhouse.”

Characterizing Robb Field as a “gem within the City,” Sprague concluded: “This is not about any one sport. It is really about making the park great for everybody. And the only way we can do that is to collaborate.”

Jill Wyatt, president of Peninsula Youth Softball Association:

“We work in conjunction with Parks and Rec staff daily to ensure the fields are playable and safe for our families. It is evident, due to insufficient staffing, that without our assistance the softball fields at Robb would simply be unplayable. The fields and turf have become infested with rodents, creating safety hazards for all athletes. The bathrooms have gone unmaintained for years and our families are justifiably afraid to use them. We never, ever, send a player to the bathroom unattended because it is extremely common to find people administering drugs, bathing, or otherwise living in them.”

“We’re excited the City is doing a long-term plan as Robb has tremendous potential and it deserves the City’s attention. However, it is frustrating that they are considering new uses and expensive new buildings for the park while existing infrastructure deteriorates. How can they expect to keep a new rec center or community garden maintained and secure when so many of the existing rec centers have so much deferred maintenance? The new visions neither add lighted ball fields nor do they improve the layout of the park to maximize active use.”

John McKaveney, COO of Albion Soccer Club:

“Albion SC is excited to see the Robb Field renovation plan gain some traction. We feel a close connection to Robb and are vested in its future. We hope to partner with the City to see Robb restored as the crown jewel of San Diego Parks. Of primary importance to Albion is to see that the multi-use fields at the facility are properly renovated. Albion would like to partner with the City to install and maintain turf fields, as well as targeted field and safety lighting, and is willing to shoulder a significant part of the cost.”

“Through this, we want Robb to continue to be the home of Albion SC, and also for our partners and other user groups such as lacrosse, rugby, and flag football. We want to share this City asset with our families and community, and we look forward to working with the City, Parks and Recreation, and the engineering team to make this dream a reality.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

SB April 24, 2023 at 6:23 pm

How does an artificial turf field, contaminated with PFAS and used tire rubber contaminated with lead, constitute a safer playing surface? This is not appropriate by the San Diego River estuary, and it is not safe for our kids. We have a tiny piece of heaven here in OB, let’s keep the gophers and the worms, the grass and the flowers. Pave paradise and put up AstroTurf elsewhere.


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