Acquired in 1937, the 3-acre park is one of the city’s oldest facilities and hasn’t seen a major renovation since the early 1970s, according to a city report.
The Redevelopment Agency today is scheduled to consider a concept plan that includes a new 2,800-square-foot community building, new restrooms, lights, irrigation systems, a lighted basketball court, benches and picnic pavilions, a new “splash pad” children’s water play area, and an expanded parking lot and playground.
Residents have enthusiastically supported the renovation at various community input meetings and had a hand in several of the revamped design features, including fencing to close off the park at night to discourage gang and graffiti activity.
Despite a predesignated $3.1-million budget, plans for the project are still too preliminary to estimate a cost, according to the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department.
At this point in the down economy and era of belt-tightening, any capital project that hasn’t already been approved can expect additional scrutiny “through the prism of reduced funding,” Mayor John Drayman said.
In their report to the Redevelopment Agency today, parks officials sought to assure City Council members — who comprise the agency board — that “in no case will the project costs exceed what is currently budgeted” in the final park design, especially given the current competitive bidding environment.
The funding is also protected somewhat from the budget mending at City Hall since it was generated through the Redevelopment Agency, which means the money cannot be transferred to cover any gaps in the general fund.
“Just because the economy is down, it doesn’t mean all the funds are frozen,” said Councilman Ara Najarian, who also serves as chairman of the Redevelopment Agency.
The concept plan will likely be sent into its final design stage at the meeting today. Barring any delays, the renovation is slated for completion in spring of 2010.
JASON WELLS covers City Hall. He may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.