PIEDMONT -- The Piedmont Recreation Commission continues to ponder what to do about large, adult pickup soccer games at Beach playfield on weekends.
Families with young children who want to play at the field find themselves turning away or being intimidated by players when they ask for some space.
"I'm not a small guy, but when four guys surround you asking why we've asked them to move, it's very uninviting," Steve Long said. "Families don't want to stand up to these guys. Kids have to play on the Beach blacktop instead of on the field."
Posted rules at the park say no more than 12 adult players at a time. Yet commissioner Teddy King and others say they've seen 20 or more players executing fast, vigorous soccer games on weekends. One commissioner noted the wording of the rule may be confusing.
The city hired two monitors to oversee uses at the park on weekends. The monitors alternate between Dracena Park and Beach from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Recreation supervisor David Weisgerber said monitors reported more problems on Saturdays; adults and teens are playing soccer on Sundays.
Resident Jonathan Davis disputed the monitors' reports, which he said don't tell the whole story.
"The adult teams figure out when the monitors are not there, like in the mornings, when large groups encroach on the field," he said.
Beach neighbor Bruce Joffe said he was glad to see the older players teaching younger ones and
Commissioners discussed requiring reservations or charging fees to offset the rough wear and tear on the synthetic turf field by the uniformed pickup soccer teams. But commissioner Terry London's idea seemed to the panel the best solution. He suggests allowing adult-only play for those groups from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The commission earlier was considering erecting a removable fence or drawing a line through the field to create a boundary for soccer players. Commissioners said they feared play would overflow the boundary and balls would still fly, creating a hazard for children.
City Councilman Garrett Keating told the panel, "We need enforcement. This will never be resolved with a part-time monitor."
In other business, the commission voted unanimously to ask for a $25 per child per sport donation from the various sports leagues to go to a designated athletic facilities preservation fund. There are more than 2,000 players registered for soccer, baseball, softball and lacrosse. Representatives from the various leagues told the panel they accepted the idea, but wanted have input about field allocation.
About $50,000 could be generated from the donations to go toward turf replacement and the like. The revenue would be shared with the Piedmont school district under a stipulated formula as part of a one-year pilot project.