Residents near Columbus Elementary this week said that the densely populated neighborhood cannot support a new $3.5-million soccer field currently being considered for the school site.
“We think it is an excellent project, we just don’t think it is an excellent place for it,” said neighbor Cooper Coleman.
Three years ago, the Glendale Unified School District proposed building the field along the southern perimeter of the campus at 425 West Milford St. It would serve as a joint-use facility for the district and city-supported recreational activities, such as AYSO soccer, although the city would cover the costs of construction, city planners said.
As proposed, the project would include the installation of a 49,500-square-foot artificial-turf field, field lighting, a restroom facility and a storage and maintenance shed. Parking for the project would be limited to the school’s existing 53-space lot.
The field would be available to community sports teams 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
But neighbors say the area is already plagued by traffic and parking problems. During morning drop off and afternoon pick up at the school, parents routinely park their vehicles illegally, they said. Weekday soccer practices and games on the weekend would be disruptive to the nearly 2,000 people who live within blocks of the site, residents added.
“We have to really work together to keep it nice and quiet, which we do,” said neighbor Taylor Scott. “But this field would bring in a schedule of AYSO games, which are not quiet games.”
Glendale Unified Deputy Supt. John Garcia said that the project fell in place because of the district and city’s mutual interests.
“It provides a top-notch facility for our students to be able to have their physical education,” Garcia said.
Residents are urging the city to build the soccer field at an alternative site named in the project’s draft environmental impact report. Pacific Park at the southeast corner of Vine Street and Kenilworth Avenue already has playing fields and lighting, as well as three times the amount of parking, they said.
“Pacific Park is perfect, it meets all of the needs,” Scott said. “The lighting is in; the only thing they would have to do is put in the artificial turf.”
The city is currently collecting community input as part of an EIR that was initiated last year and is scheduled for review by the Glendale City Council by the end of the month.
A draft of the report — available on the city’s website — found that the project would have significant impacts on the lighting, air quality and parking in the immediate neighborhood, and that the impacts were “significant and unavoidable.”
The Planning Department is currently looking at Pacific Park as an option, said Senior Planner Erik Krause. Community members who want to submit comments to be included in the EIR have until June 12, he added.