Some Council members want cheap, substandard fix for Riley Field track


Recreation will take a hit in Peachtree City, unless we act.

On Thursday, October 6, Peachtree City Council tabled the proposed resurfacing of the Riley Field running track until the October 20 meeting and will likely not approve maintaining or maintaining on-the-cheap a facility used by many runners and walkers in Peachtree City unless we the citizens make our voices heard.

This should concern everyone who uses recreational facilities in Peachtree City, not just runners and walkers, because today, it is Riley Field track that might not get maintained, but tomorrow it might be the Glenloch splash pad, Kedron pool or basketball courts, the tennis and pickleball courts, BMX track, or any of several other recreation facilities.

I’d encourage everyone to contact the Mayor and Council at and express your thoughts.

Riley Field track is an all-weather rubberized surface over an asphalt substrate, similar to a tennis court. For a decade it has needed some attention, but now, because of no maintenance, it needs to be completely replaced at a cost of 560 thousand dollars. The City has budget for this maintenance; it is not an issue of finding the money.

In no particular order, these are the questions that Council asked of themselves, City staff, and me since I was at the council meeting. 1. We received just one bid from Deluxe Athletics when we should have three. How do we get more bids? 2. Can we use another company’s asphalt paving and then have Deluxe apply the rubberized surface to save money? 3. Can we just do an asphalt track and skip the rubberized coating? 4. Isn’t is just sprinters who need a rubberized track? 5. Do enough people use the track to justify the cost?

The request for quote was sent to many companies, and only two showed up to the bid meeting, but only Deluxe quoted. The explanation for lack of quotes is everyone is busy and doesn’t need the business or can’t travel. Athletic field resurfacing is a niche business so it is not surprising we didn’t get three quotes.

As for using a separate asphalt company, if I were the finisher, I would not give a warranty because the quality of the asphalt work determines the reliability of the rubberized top coat. If we have two suppliers involved in resurfacing the track and there is a problem, both will point at the other.

An asphalt-only track is a problem for several reasons. To a runner of any skill, it screams “this community didn’t really want a track, and this is the on-the-cheap solution.” It is analogous to not putting wood on top of concrete to finish a quality basketball court.

No serious running organization hosts events on asphalt as falling on asphalt leads to more injuries than a rubberized surface because it is much less forgiving, and smooth asphalt is slick on a rainy day.

When Harvard installed a rubberized track in the 1970s, they found their athletes were injured less. Even FCBOE decided all county high schools should have rubberized tracks, and one could argue that the youngest athletes are least in need of a forgiving surface.

An asphalt track would also invite cyclists, roller skaters, and skateboarders, maybe even some golf carts, and lead to the same problematic interactions we have on the cart paths between runners, walkers, and everyone else.

Athletes who run any distance can benefit from an all-weather track. The Harvard study also found time improvements at all distances. A standard track meet covers distances from 100 meters up to two miles or even five kilometers while Olympic athletes run 10,000 meters, a little more than six miles. When the Peachtree City Running Club hosts the six summer track meets, a 5,000-meter distance is typically included every other week.

The question on usage of Riley Field is disingenuous. If we let a facility deteriorate, then of course nobody will use it. I visited the track recently, and it still has doormat sized pieces of rubberized surface peeling up that were thrown to the side, exposing large sections of asphalt. If people judged Peachtree City just by the track, they’d think the City is going downhill.

The Running Club pays to hold a monthly one-mile time trial at the Starr’s Mill High School track because of the condition of Riley Field. For many, many years the Peachtree City Flash youth running club has used Riley for seasons of track and cross country. Konos, a private school, has paid to use it for their cross-country practices, and has hosted invitational track meets for other private schools.

As mentioned above the Running Club hosts a series of six summer track meets that draw 100 to 200 participants including youth track teams, school teams, and kids and adults in the community. Members of the PTC TRI Club and HNL Running club use it. People in the community know about the track and use it for running and walking. When I run there, I see people of all ages. It appears seniors like to walk there because they don’t have golf carts flying around them.

The real issue about Riley track is about the kind of community we want to be. If we value quality of life then we can work, shop, go to school, and play inside the City. Our taxes pay for our top amenity, the cart paths, but we need to maintain our other recreational facilities, too. Inside the SPLOST proposal that went to Council are a host of new recreational facilities, including items as unique but growing in popularity as beach volleyball pits. I run, and I don’t do other sports, but I like knowing that those who participate in other activities have quality facilities they can use.

I asked our current political candidates what they think since they are more likely in tune with what the citizens want. Mr. Kevin Madden is an unequivocal “yes” to properly resurfacing Riley.

Dr. Phil Crane stated, “We were explicitly told to ignore it in SPLOST, and then this happens. I want the track resurfaced. Had we not waited as long as we did, it would have cost significantly less. That’s not the citizens’ fault.”

Mr. Mark Gelhardt stated, “As a long-time runner and marathoner I’m in favor of resurfacing the Riley field track as a running track (not an asphalt loop).  The citizens of PTC come here for our quality of life — that includes our recreational facilities.  When the budget allows, we should make sure we have outstanding facilities for our community.  Currently, the budget allows for a resurfacing of the Riley field track.  I am in favor of spending budgeted and allocated moneys for our citizens to use great facilities — like a good running track at Riley field.”

Mr. Kenneth Hamner stated, “I strongly support taking care of our facilities, including resurfacing Riley Field. Not taking care of it makes it dangerous for runners, and it makes future improvements more expensive and complex.”

As of the writing of this, Mr. Clint Holland was contacted but has not provided feedback.

Everyone interested in fitness, sports, and athletics who uses a City facility, please come to the Thursday, October 20, City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. and make your voice heard. If you arrive early, you can be put on a list to make a public comment for up to two minutes. If you do so, please have prepared talking points ready to go.

Paul Schultz

Peachtree City,Ga.


  1. “No serious running organization hosts events on asphalt as falling on asphalt leads to more injuries than a rubberized surface because it is much less forgiving, and smooth asphalt is slick on a rainy day.” (Paul Schultz)

    Mr Schultz – Please explain to me why, at the exact moment I am typing this, there are maybe a thousand runners out on our asphalt golf cart trails running a 5K or a 15K here in Peachtree City……paved asphalt seems to be good enough for this massive event that’s larger than any event that would be held at Riley Field. Also the PTC Triathlon is held on the paths and roads of PTC which are paved not in cushiony track material, but *shockingly* with asphalt.

    We can make do with an asphalt track for Riley Field. If a serious event wants to be held – use the high school tracks – they’re state of the art and why pay $560K for an amenity that very few people use.

    • My experience with asphalt tracks is they are smoothed to a much greater degree than cart paths so when they are wet, they are slick. Have you ever run on an asphalt track? I have. I have trained and competed across all distances both on the road, track, and trails, including qualifying to run the Boston Marathon. Track work is essential for almost all that seek a qualifying time. An all-weather track is the most suitable surface for a track meet. Are you a runner? What is your expertise? I would dispute your assertion that very few people use Riley Field.

  2. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t buy within Peachtree City limits. 46 million for a new middle school that wasn’t needed, 750K to pave the dirt road it was located on.. and now 560K to resurface a running track? Good grief? Keeping watching property taxes increase exponentially.

  3. Is there a way to put in a collection box, like the one at Lake McIntosh? People who pay Fayette County taxes/ have the tag can still utilize the park freely, as their taxes pay to directly maintain – while those coming in from out of county to use the facility would also be a part of the cost of maintenance?

    • The impatient among us were patient at one time, but after quiet, behind-the-scenes work with candidates, those on Council, and City staff that never materialized, we decided to become the squeaky wheel. Riley Field track was a minor issue even when Mayor Fleisch ran for re-election. How about we just do it fast now?

  4. Paul I appreciate your passion but an aging track is not the method to measure whether Peachtree city is a great place to live or not. We have had other recreation properties that were deemed too expensive to repair. Case in point would be the city swimming pool that used to be close to the police station (Clover Reach subdivision?). Either costly repairs or lack of use caused the city to simply fill it with dirt and cover it with grass. I’m not against repairing this track but like several others I would like more information about how many citizens actively benefit from it, and the thought of a single bid does not sit well with me.

    • Hometown600, you’re right. It was Clover Reach that had the pool. At the next Council meeting we plan to have leadership from at least two running clubs and members of the Flash youth track club. I’m working on inviting leadership from another two other clubs. Our online petition has 360 folks that have signed in 2 days. I’m very disappointed that the recreation director was not present at the meeting last Thursday to give usage stats- and why wouldn’t the rec director be present to give comment when there is a potential vote on $560k for recreation? From a usage standpoint people have to understand that not all facilities are used intensely 24/7. Soccer fields are largely empty during the day because the kids are in school but wait for a Saturday during soccer season- tons of them. The BMX course sees sparse usage until there is a competition day. And how many pickleball or tennis players are there really in town, but it seems like they’re getting all kinds of attention at a cost much higher than the track.

    • Clover Reach AND Pebble Pocket Park. But let me tell you the real story of what happened: Council did not act to support these facilities by appropriate maintenance and hiring. As a result, these facilities were closed more often then they were open. Citizens could no longer count on their use or plan activities around them. So usage fell off. And within a few years, the argument from Council became “nobody uses these facilities, so let’s close them and save money”. Then they proceeded to spend 3x the annual maintenance cost demolishing and backfilling the pools. The Glenloch facility narrowly escaped this fate because of its visibility; the soccer fields were a big draw, and families complained about the lack of access to the pool, which was almost always locked and covered.

      Council needs to be expanding public facilities. Re-open and add more public pools for residents. Restore and grow its partnerships with private land holders like Southern Conservation Trust. And we need to add dedicated bike lanes along Robinson, Peachtree Parkway, and Dividend Drive to deconflict cyclists and motorists.

  5. Paul,
    Thanks for all your email information and comments. I have spent the entire weekend campaigning in PTC, and did not follow up on emails until today. I was at the meeting last Thursday and heard all the comments on both sides. Many have value and some do not.
    In my engineering opinion, we need to look at the facts of the bid and the specifications before we can vote either way. The city engineer did not answer the questions regarding who wrote the specs. Did they put special requirements into the specs that precluded other bidders?
    27 bids were sent out and only 1 was returned. In my long business experience that is a huge red flag that something was amiss! Not that just 26 bidders were too busy.
    This morning I asked the acting city manager for the bid, specs (and who wrote them), and other documents regarding this issue so I could read them before considering any vote. I believe in knowing all the facts, as we are spending the city taxpayer’s money.
    BTW, until getting injured many years back I, too, was a runner, so I am sensitive to the needs, but as a potential councilman I need the consider all the facts before deciding how to vote. I believe most sensible citizens will want to weigh all the facts and make a decision that considers all the details of this bid. So I withhold my vote until I am fully aware of all the details.

    • Mr. Holland, I appreciate your perspective on this, but your answer is to wait, right? We’ve been waiting 10 years. How much longer do we need to wait? Please see picture above. Is this even remotely acceptable? This is Peachtree City. We’re not some poor city in rural Georgia. Millions in SPLOST monies have been spent on NEW projects in comparison to just the $560k of this bid. My question is should we maintain an existing facility, one that was built brand-new with city funds? How is it that 20 years later the city can’t afford to fix it? (I know we need competitive bids- I agree.) This is not a question of cost; it a question of priorities. At $560k to fix it is a middle-tier project. From what I understand the tennis center needs about $5-million in repairs.

      Paul Schultz

    • I commend Clint Holland, Frank Destadio and Phil Prebor. Why was there was just one bid from 27potential bidders. It’s possible some are too busy or understaffed. It’s probable something in the contract specs eliminated all but one. In contracting, one bid from 27 potential bidders sends up a red flag. Writing contract specs is complicated. No matter how much blustering the Mayor did as she tried to get one of her pet projects approved, tabling this issue was the right thing to do. Let the city staff, Council and candidates examine the specs to see if something inadvertently eliminated potential bidders. Phil Prebor and Frank Destadio were skeptical of awarding a contract with just one bid . . . for a reason. Clint agrees with them. And I agree too. A few weeks to look at the specs to ensure our tax dollars are well spent is exactly what I want from City Council, and candidates. If this maintenance is so overdue, to delay a few weeks or months is irrelevant. I want good shepherds of my tax dollars, don’t you? Kudos to Frank Destadio, Phil Prebor, and Clint Holland. Get the facts, then vote.

      • Iwalkthebridge, I agree we need bids, but at a higher level, the discussion I heard last Thursday was synonymous with “we don’t really want to do this.” Temperatures are getting colder and resurfacing might have to wait until spring and a cost increase. Six more months lost. Then, the questions start again, who uses this facility anyway? Can’t it just be asphalt? We have 90 miles of cart paths- why do runners and walkers need a track, too? The budget we allocated got spent, so sorry! And it’s not in the SPLOST so we’re waiting until God knows when. Tick tock tick tock.

      • Government contracting is experiencing a marked decrease in responses to RFIs, RFPs, RFQs etc for smaller scale projects, even at the local level.

        With labor assets at a premium, costs for equipment and materiel, supply chain issues, and insurance costs, many offerers find their balance sheets indicating larger, longer contracts to be less risk-prone. Additionally there are better incentives for below budget/early delivery performance.