The City of Mill Valley operates and maintains approximately 11 acres of sport fields for use by organized sport teams that number between 4,000 and 5,000 annual participants. Fields are closed for intensive maintenance in summer and winter. During this time, Park Maintenance staff aerate, over-seed, fertilize, and patch areas with sod that are too damaged to restore by seeding. Major restorations can take up to 10 weeks during the summer closure.
Full restoration of sand-based sport fields is ideally done on a five-year schedule and is necessary due to a build-up of thatch on the field over time, which can inhibit proper drainage. Fields may remain safe for play for up to 15 years if managed well. Over time, areas of sand fields can sink due to ground settlement, causing unsafe undulations over the field. The first City-owned playfield to be comprehensively renovated was Hauke Park last summer at a cost of $63,000.
This year, the sport field at Bayfront Park was renovated. Our Parks crew used the Koro machine to remove all old sod and soil which has been ground and will be reused as top soil at various park sites damaged by erosion and salt from high tides. The ground up sod will compost on site for two months. Crews will then spread and seed it to improve soil stability and drainage.
Eight hundred tons of sand was delivered using ground protection mats that allowed heavy trucks to dump sand directly onto the field. In the past, sand was dumped at the Corp Yard and then needed to be transferred to field sites. Using the mats removed a significant amount of time and labor from the process. The sand was then graded across the field to reestablish its crown and after grading, 78,000 square feet of new sod was laid.
All irrigation heads were dug up and raised to the new grade. The field is currently being watered to establish good root systems. DPW crews will prepare it for play before the season opens on September 2nd.
The cost of the Bayfront Field restoration was $132,000. Funding sources include donations from partner groups such as the Mill Valley Friends of Parks and Recreation. The fields themselves came about in the early 2000's through Friends of Fields, a true private/public partnership focused on recreation facilities and quality of life for children and families. The Bayfront Field renovation continues that work and gives a new “lease” on the fields for the next generation. Hauke Park had similar funding and partnership, including the donation of the Koro turf cutter by Friends of Parks and Recreation to facilitate these renovations in a cost-saving manner. Friends of Parks & Recreation gave $50,000 in 2018 for Bayfront renovations and $50,000 in 2019 for Friends Field renovations. The Friends have also accepted generous donations from the Youth Sports Leagues to help replenish those funds.
Our next field renovation project will be Friends Field