By Sam Richards
(Friday, June 24) The GRF Planning Committee voted on June 23 to recommend pursuing study of an area just southwest of the Event Center as a prospective home for a new pickleball facility, opting for it over sites at the Buckeye tennis complex and the existing pickleball courts at Creekside.
Included in this will be hiring a landscape architect to create a pickleball plan for the Event Center site, as well as a noise study of how nearby residents and users of the Event Center and other nearby facilities would be affected. Visual impacts of a pickleball facility adjacent to the Event Center would also be part of this recommendation. The recommended actions would cost about $200,000, which would come from $1.2 million recommended as part of the Facilities Master Plan (see section on that plan below).
Before the June 23 meeting, the list of potential pickleball sites had been narrowed to three – Creekside, where there are three courts now and one more could be practically built; Buckeye, where two tennis courts could be converted to eight pickleball courts; or behind the Event Center, first presented as a possible location at the Planning Committee’s May meeting. That site could accommodate six pickleball courts.
Director of Resident Services Jeff Matheson said the Event Center site offers the most advantages, including adequate parking, close proximity to restrooms, proximity of the Dollar Park open space and the Event Center patio for social gatherings, and that the site doesn’t interfere with existing outdoor activities.
Disadvantages with the Event Center pickleball courts site: Residences within 250 feet on the west side who could be affected by noise as well as visually; space would allow only six courts; and potential parking conflicts when the Event Center hosts another event.
The projected cost for the needed work at the Event Center is $1,242,645, slightly less than at Buckeye and more than $619,000 less than the needed work at Creekside.
The GRF Board is expected to take up this matter on Thursday, June 30.
Rossmoor News delivery at tipping point
The GRF Board also will, at its June 30 meeting, hear seven proposed options for weekly delivery of the Rossmoor News, in light of the publication’s troubles in attracting enough carriers to deliver the paper door to door each week.
Director of Communications Ann Peterson told the committee on June 23 that six newspaper delivery staffers had left their jobs since the start of 2022, and only one new has arrived. Reasons for this, she said, range from low pay to working only one day a week to the physically strenuous work.
“If we lose even one more news carrier, we’re at a critical point,” Peterson told the committee. “We can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”
The seven options Peterson presented, each with its own economic and personnel pros and cons, were:
- Revisit possibility of hiring residents to roll and deliver the papers;
- Increase hourly wages to attract more candidates;
- Split newspaper deliveries between Wednesday and Thursday;
- Move from delivery to the door, on foot, to delivery from vehicles, providing less precision;
- Only deliver papers to 40 boxes placed throughout Rossmoor on GRF property;
- Only deliver papers to boxes – 124 of them, covering all entries in clusters (plus five at The Waterford);
- Discontinue print newspaper entirely, except for special sections, and move regular editions to online only.
Peterson said the delivery and paper-rolling functions have been increasingly performed by regular News and Rossmoor TV employees, taking them away from their main duties and causing delays in starting new initiatives, including an emailed weekly headlines wrap-up.
Each of the seven options has economic and personnel pros and cons.
Both Peterson and committee member Ted Bentley said distribution using boxes, from which residents would pull out a paper each week, could be viewed as a transitional step toward eventually making the News an online-only product. But Peterson stressed that neither Rossmoor residents nor News staffers are ready for an abrupt end of the printed paper right now.
Peterson’s detailed report is now expected to be made on June 30 to the full GRF Board. The PowerPoint of that can be seen by going to https://tinyurl.com/27uvb65b
Facilities Master Plan forwarded
The Planning Committee voted unanimously on June 23 to recommend the GRF Board approve a Facilities Master Plan pinpointing the top planned capital projects in Rossmoor over the next decade.
GRF has been working for the past year with Berkeley firm ELS Architecture and Urban Design to develop a Facilities Master Plan for large-scale projects to be built over the next 10 years, based on the money available to pay for them. A major part of that process was reaching out to Rossmoor residents to hear their priorities for major community projects. That outreach has included focus groups, a community survey and several presentations to the GRF Board and its committees.
The highest priority “near term” project identified is replacing the outmoded, cramped, physically deteriorating MOD office complex. Projected cost: $18,868,547.
The total cost for all selected projects, for all time frames, is just over $56 million. Those categorized as “immediate need” projects, for undertaking within the next two years, are pickleball courts, $1.2 million; phase two of the studio renovations, $950,000; ongoing study of a potential water reclamation project, $232,000; Dollar exterior accessibility improvements, $173,250; access control systems for various indoor spaces within Rossmoor, $145,000; and bocce court resurfacing, $55,000. That’s a total of $2,755,250. (The bocce court resurfacing is already complete.)
Projects in the “pipeline” category, which are now in process, include Gateway building replacement, $11,946,155; Dollar Clubhouse seismic work, elevator and various finishes, $8,059,711; Hillside Pool Building renovations, $774,033; and Rossmoor Parkway median conversion work to add parking, $385,000. Total: $21,164,899.
Two projects identified as “maintenance” are emergency access road studies of three possible locations, $605,000, and drought management projects, $550,000.
To see the full Facilities Master Plan report the Planning Committee received, go to https://tinyurl.com/25ez65sb
Safety Project recommended
The Planning Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the GRF Board approval of the Tice Creek Pedestrian Safety Project, following a spate of vehicle-vs.-pedestrian accidents along that roadway in 2022, including a fatality in April.
Public Safety Manager Tom Cashion told the Planning Committee the project is envisioned to include installation of six permanent radar speed reading devices, and 18 high-visibility crosswalk signs with arrows at nine crosswalks; painting “shark teeth” markers in front of each crosswalk; converting the crosswalks on Tice Creek at Singingwood Court and Canyonwood Court to high-visibility ladder crosswalks; evaluating the red curbs at all crosswalks to make sure sight distance is appropriate; and install new stop signs and road markings on Tice Creek at Ptarmigan Drive. The projected cost for all this, plus a 10% contingency, is about $93,000.