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From: Vol. 2, Issue 38, September 20-26, 2007

By Norb Garrett
San Clemente Times

The baseline chalk is down, the players have returned and the sounds of softball and baseball games again fill the evening and weekend air at Richard T. Steed Memorial Park, the city’s largest all-softball/baseball park located off Avenida La Pata at Avenida Pico. All that remains now is the return of the food and beverage service and the $1.6 million seven-month overhaul will be complete. “The physical improvements were done in July,” says Tim Shaw, the park planner for the city’s Beaches, Parks and Recreation Department. “We had a few things to finish, such as the Tot Lot and the seat wall, but that’s all completed now.”

Steed Park’s four lit softball/baseball fields underwent facelifts, with new infields, seeding in the outfields and installation of additional base anchors to accommodate several different age groups that might want to utilize the fields. Other than physical changes, there have been a few other adjustments from before. The city now runs the recreation league program and has a full-time staff person, Chris Watkins, on-site in the office at the facility. Also, rather than link the operations with the concession services, the city put the concession out to bid and, following unanimous support at the commission level, it will vote to approve the new vendors, L.M. Catering, at the October 2 City Council meeting-the item originally was on the September 18 City Council agenda but was continued while details on the contract were completed.

L.M. Catering is owned by San Clemente residents Meg and Gary Greenberg, who operate a similar facility at the La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts. According to Beaches, Parks and Recreation staffer Stacy Blackwood, the Greenbergs plan to offer a more expansive menu beyond regular sports park fare. “They’ve indicated that they might consider such items as soups, croissant sandwiches and other finger foods,” says Blackwood, who noted that the facility would again offer beer and wine as well as food. “Another idea they have discussed is possibly putting out barbeques in the common area and possibly even having carts to serve areas such as the skate park.”

Blackwood anticipates the facility becoming operational roughly one week after approval by City Council; it likely will be a month or so before the liquor license transfers.

For information about adult softball leagues and other recreation opportunities at Steed, go to www.san-clemente.org or call 949.361.8249.

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