Although some issues are still up in the air, the San Rafael City Council unanimously team to Albert Field at Monday’s meeting.
Beginning in 2012, on Andersen Drive and Lindaro Street will host 45 home games for a North American League baseball team, bringing the city an estimated net revenue of $20,000 to $21,000.
The Council approved the initial permit for the company Centerfield Partners, LLC to rent the field. City staff will be holding a public meeting tonight at the San Rafael Corporate Center to address management plans and other details before the final agreement will come before the Council in October.
San Rafael residents who are concerned about management issues, such as noise and parking, are invited to give input at the meeting but it “is not meant to have debates or negotiate,” City Manager Nancy Mackle said
Scaling Down the Field of Dreams
Centerfield Partners first approached San Rafael residents about a minor league team in April. Due to residents’ concerns over noise, lights, security and parking, the company scaled down the plan’s scope.
The new plan includes free parking at the San Rafael Corporate Center, private security who will prohibit tailgating, 800 seats instead of the initial 1,500 proposed, no alcohol consumption after the seventh inning and concessions sold inside the stadium instead of in the parking lot.
They also plan to make improvements to the baseball field and they would be using the existing PA system for games.
"We’ve said ok to every reasonable issue that came before us,” said Mike Shapiro, adviser for Centerfield Partners.
Although Centerfield Partners originally thought of conducting an environmental review, Shapiro told the Council that they decided to scale the plans to avoid missing the 2012 season and to cut down on costs.
Local recreational leagues would still get to use the field, but private uses would have to work around the game schedule, according to Community Services Director Carlene McCart.
Since the scaled down project is consistent with previous uses of the park, an environmental review would be needed, McCart said.
A Matter of Civic Pride
On Friday night, Albert Field hosted a boxing match between Paul Nave, known as the “Marin County Assassin,” and Brandon Hoskins.
Councilman Marc Levine took a friend out to eat in downtown before attending the fight. “I felt a great amount of civic pride to be able to do that,” he said, noting that a minor league baseball team would add the same vitality to San Rafael.
“I think the Centerfield proposal is the public private partnership that we’ve been waiting to see for improvements at Albert Park,” he said.
Instead of attending the fight, Vice Mayor Greg Brockbank drove around the surrounding area at the request of some Gerstle Park neighbors. The noise was loud, but he said before the vote that “complaining about crowd noise when you've moved near a ballpark is to me like complaining about air noise when you've moved near an airport.”
“It’s not going to be a money maker for San Rafael but everything we do doesn’t have to do with money,” he said. “It’s matter of civic pride.”
The community meeting will be held in the Tamalpais Room at the San Rafael Corporate Center at 6 p.m.
Check out our Albert Field Facebook page for more updates or view our of the meeting.