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Field needs more green

Use agreement stumbles as parties have trouble meeting financial obligations.

January 20, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Tim Berger )

An agreement for joint use of La Cañada High School's field, established between the La Cañada Unified School District, the Arroyo United Foundation and La Cañada High School Boosters Club, could be nullified because the parties have had difficulty meeting the financial obligations outlined in the joint-use contract.

The district entered an improvement agreement for the La Cañada High sports complex with the Arroyo United Foundation in June of 2003. Arroyo United installed a new artificial field and rubberized track in September of 2003, getting use of the facilities when they're unused by the district in return.

The LCHS Boosters joined both parties in a 14-year agreement in January of 2004. Both the Foundation and Boosters agreed to contribute a total of $120,000, which would go toward replacing the field in 2014 or 2015.

The school's field will need to be replaced within the next three to four years, said Mike Leininger, the district's assistant superintendent of facilities and operations. Black pellets from the artificial turf have begun appearing on the field's surface because the turf is being crushed down, Leininger said.

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The estimated cost for replacing the artificial turf is $382,000, Leininger said. But Arroyo United and the Boosters Club have had difficulty meeting the financial obligations outlined in the contract, school board member Cindy Wilcox said.

In 2004, Arroyo United agreed to contribute a total of $120,000 (via a $16,000 contribution the first year of the agreement and $8,000 annually through 2018) and the LCHS Boosters agreed to contribute $75,000 (via a $10,000 payment the first year and $5,000 annually through 2018) to separate accounts by 2018. La Cañada Unified agreed to place all funds received for renting the field in an account that would be used for replacing the field. A total of $58,869 has been placed into that account, Leininger said.

Leininger said he's not certain how much Arroyo United and the Boosters have contributed toward replacing the field at this point.

"That's part of the research we're still doing. We're going back and looking at it," Leininger said. "It takes time to peel back all the layers of the onion."

Arroyo United is interested in adjusting the contract, now that they're no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of soccer and don't have as much need for the field, Leininger said.

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