City rejects park project
July 23, 2013 — Calling the project poorly planned, the Susanville City Council voted 3-2 Wednesday, July 17 to abandon the proposed Sierra Community Park project and not accept $2.1 million in Proposition 84 grant funding for the facility from the state of California.
Mayor Rod De Boer and councilmembers Brian Wilson and Nicholas McBride voted against a motion to approve a contract amendment with the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation while councilmembers Lino Callegari and Cheryl McDonald voted to approve it.
City Administrator Jared Hancock said although the environmental review of the project through the California Environmental Quality Act is still pending, the council approved an environmental review at its last meeting, the design modifications of the project had been completed and the city was ready to sign a construction contract with the state for the project.
Callegari acknowledged there were some concerns about the project, but he said in order to qualify for the Prop. 84 funding it had to meet certain criteria. He said he was “100 percent for the project” and urged the council to approve it “for the young people of Susanville.”
Wilson said he uses a city park nearly every day, but he was going to vote against this project.
He noted the council has been split on this project since its inception. The cost of the park as originally proposed was more than $4 million, and changes and revisions to bring the project in at the grant amount marred it beyond repair. He said cutting corners such as not paving the parking lot or installing sidewalks and curbs could eventually cost the city about $1 million, and the city would be “chasing improvements” at the facility for years to come.
He also thought the city’s proposed maintenance budget of $40,000 per year was very conservative, and he expected the cost to be much higher.
Besides, Wilson said city residents are much more interested in a swimming pool than a news sports complex.
McBride said he tended to agree with Wilson.
“If (the project had been) planned correctly in the beginning, I’d be all for it,” McBride said.
He said many of the changes made to the project such as a dirt parking area that would “violate our own city codes” and not comply with regulations requiring the park be accessible to the handicapped.
De Boer estimated it would cost the city $75,000 to $80,000 per year to maintain the park, and the city would have to keep spending money to make improvements. He also expressed concerns about the changes that had been made to bring the project into line with the amount of grant funding.
Still, Callegari urged his fellow councilmembers to approve the project for the young people who would enjoy the park for years to come. He also said the proposed park and a pool were two entirely separate matters, and the grant funding for the park could not be used to build a pool.
Despite the flaws in the plan, Callegari said the project should move forward as money was available.
“There’s nothing in that contract that says you have to go from A to Z,” Callegari said. “You have two million, five-hundred thousand dollars to spend. You lay it out, and you build what you can with that amount of money.”
He agreed the city has “an obligation” to make the facility handicapped accessible.
And he said once the city refuses the grant funding, the money would go to another city in Southern California.
Back in April 2011, former City Administrator Robert Porfiri announced the city had been awarded a $2.1 million Prop. 84 grant for the proposed sports complex.
According to Porfiri, the city also dedicated $160,000 from the parks mitigation fund for a total project of $2,289,000.
The city was one of 64 selected for funding from a pool of more than 400 applications through the Prop. 84 program.
According to the release, the proposed 17.5-acre park project, located at 925 Sierra Road, would have included a playground for toddlers, a picnic area with barbecues, a stage/amphitheater area, several sport fields (tennis, basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, etc.), a walking path with benches, restrooms and plenty of parking.
Cougars face tough teams to prepare for a victorious season
TJ McCauley attempts to keep the ball away from a Fresno City College player during the championship basketball game of the El Camino Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 24. The Lassen Community College Cougars have been competing in pre-season tournaments and have earned several wins. Photo by Scott Nordstrom Dec....Read More...
Susanville native to play in college bowl with Boise State
Darren Lee, a Lassen High School graduate and former Lassen High football player, now plays football for Boise State and will be going with the team to a college bowl game in late December. Photo by Boise State Media Relations Dec. 6 — A Susanville native is making strides in his football career...Read More...
Lady Grizzlies celebrate a championship season
Miranda Langenhorst, back left, Mikailia Bustamante, Melica Woodhead, Dana Lovelace, Makenna Busse, Klari Scheff, bottom left, Hailey Hannah, Stevie Woodbury, Myeisha Shepard, Emilee Downing, Gabi Geoia and Jayde Hartzell pose together with the awards they were presented with at the Lassen High School...Read More...