Glendale Unified School District assumes maintenance, operation of Stengel Field

The Glendale Unified School District and city of Glendale entered a joint-use agreement for the use of Stengel Field at the district’s board of education meeting Tuesday.

With a vote of 4-1, the district approved a memorandum of understanding with the city that put the district in charge of the maintenance, operations and management responsibilities of Stengel Field. The move alleviates some cost on the city and secures a “true home field” for the Crescenta Valley High baseball team for the district.

In addition to Crescenta Valley, the Glendale Community College baseball team will be given “exclusive use” of Stengel for games and practices, with the Falcons receiving top priority for scheduling. Glendale and Babe Ruth Little League baseball will also be able to use the field for games.

The Glendale Angelenos, a summer collegiate wood-bat baseball team that has called Stengel home since it formed in 2011, was not mentioned in the memorandum of understanding. The report does give the district the opportunity to reserve the field for third parties after an application and approval process.

The memorandum does not yet address the 1,000-person capacity grandstands at Stengel Field, which have been condemned. As of now, only the front two rows of Stengel’s bleachers are open for use with the rest fenced off.

That’s what led to Mary Boger being the lone dissenting vote on the matter.

“The stands have been condemned, it really isn’t a viable baseball stadium,” said Boger, who also voiced concerns on the city holding up to their responsibilities based on previous undisclosed experiences. “I don’t want to maintain a baseball stadium that isn’t viable.”

Glendale Unified Superintendent Richard Sheehan said talks between the district and city are still ongoing on the stands.

“There’s been discussion of some demolition of the field and putting up temporary stands, but I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” said Sheehan, who, like board members Greg Krikorian and Christine Walters, pushed for an approval of the memorandum. “I agree, from a time standpoint, it’s better for us to approve it now and continue to work with the city.”

Krikorian and Walters voted yes, along with board president Nayiri Nahabedian, after expressing confidence in the strong working relationship between Sheehan and City Manager Scott Ochoa.

“An MOU is a lot different than a contract and I feel enough confidence,” Krikorian said of the memorandum. “I really feel we have to start somewhere and I think this a good step.”

The agreement is flexible and allows the district to present a proposed solution, regarding the seating concerns, to the board when one is reached with the city. The city has agreed to “replace the planks, lumber and hardware for the grandstand seating areas and tighten handrails as necessary,” according to the report.

The memorandum will be in place for two years, beginning Oct. 1 and ending Sept. 30, 2015. Either party will be able to opt out of the agreement by giving 180 days notice or they can renew it twice for one-year spans each time.

Maintenance and operation of the field will be handled by the district’s facility and support operation department with the district covering the cost from its maintenance funds and receiving a helping hand from GCC and CV baseball.

With no charge, the city will be able to reserve the field for 12 days out of the year for city events. It may also rent out the field for film or television filming. All revenue generated from film permits will go to the city, according to the agreement, which also drew an objection from Boger.

“We have more to benefit from for getting this in place, the roles and responsibilities haven’t been satisfactory in the recent past,” Walters said. “It’s a big step forward, it may not be perfect, so there may be room for additional understandings.”

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