Council adopts Parks Capital Improvement Plan
City Council’s newest resolution creates a multi-year Parks Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the City. As a project in Council’s 2021 Work Plan, it also addresses the goal to provide “Adequate Parks and Open Space.”
City-owned parks are maintained by the City public works department. The Parks CIP was developed by Public Works Director Mark Janeck with assistance from staff.
Capital improvements in the resolution are equipment or improvements costing over $5,000 and lasting over five years. The City currently has CIPs for its water, sewer, stormwater and road systems. According to City Finance Director Will Norris, CIPs promote better use of limited financial resources. They weigh priorities, conditions and costs on a citywide basis and plan them over time. The City lacks a dedicated revenue source for Parks capital improvements so projects will be included in the annual budgeting process.
To illustrate the types of projects the City could realize, Janeck explained, “We evaluated the relative condition of City parks and came up with a list of suggestions. Ideas for a parks CIP are based on staff’s recommendations for safety, maintenance, improvements and equipment. Examples represent what around $140,000 per year in allowances could achieve over a five-year period.”
The Capital Improvement Plan was discussed in two October council meetings and generated enthusiasm from all councilors. They agreed to focus general fund dollars on safety-related projects, as well as maintenance and improvements at existing parks. Generally, council members supported involving the community, partners and service organizations that have been valuable support for many large park projects in the past. Emphasis was on leveraging community energy, fundraising and grants for special projects when possible.
“Community participation for parks projects to ensure the vision, inclusion, fundraising and volunteer opportunities is important for building community and a sense of communal ownership of the parks,” said Councilor Mark Zanmiller.
To illustrate how a Parks CIP would work, Janeck presented example projects in a five-year table with an average of $145,000 in expenses each year. More detailed project descriptions give an idea of what could be accomplished with a five-year investment close to $750,000.
Several priorities and possible projects were identified including baseball field renovations at Collins Field. Waterfront Park beach repair and restroom facility improvements, Children’s Park basketball court and playground improvements at Waterfront Park, Mann Park and Wilson Park were also mentioned as example. A possible Tsuruta Tennis Court relocation would likely require partnership and fundraising, however surfacing improvements are planned for next year.
The Parks CIP follows increased maintenance investments by the public works department that were begun last spring. Identifying capital improvement projects to increase safety at specific parks will be topics in upcoming budget cycles.
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