Community park: Board OKs updates
Funding for the long-discussed Josh Anderson Basketball Court was approved by the El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors last week, along with flush toilets, a bridge over New York Creek and grading for a future dog park — all in the Community Park on El Dorado Hills Boulevard.
Preliminary plans and estimates were prepared by Stantec Consulting under the supervision of former Parks Director Kent Oakley, now retired, who contracts with the district as a special project coordinator.
Stantec estimated the total cost of the park upgrades at $894,856, only $211,943 of which is in the current year capital improvement budget.
The $581,416 balance will come from a combination of the general fund reserve account, some outstanding developer “in lieu” fees and the capital deficiency reserve, which is set aside to bring existing park facilities up to new park standards.
The board also approved $60,550 for Stantec to complete construction drawings and specifications necessary to put the project out to bid.
The basketball court was conceived in 2005 as a tribute to Oak Ridge High School graduate Josh Anderson, who died in a car wreck on El Dorado Hills Boulevard.
Josh’s parents, Joseph and Kelley Anderson, worked with CSD staff at the time to muster public support from local contractors, and envisioned the project at no cost” to the CSD.
But the offers to help evaporated as housing values declined, and the project — the only outdoor basketball court in the park — languished until Director Bill Vandegrift got behind it in 2011. The estimated cost is $118,196.
The board also considered, but rejected, a $471,876 version of the basketball court project which included adjacent picnic and play areas.
The park improvements also include a fully plumbed, four-door unisex bathroom structure to replace the port-a-potties that currently serve the north baseball and soccer fields. The $328,221 bathroom project includes a drinking fountain, a bench, an activity display board and landscaping.
A new 45-foot long pedestrian bridge will span New York Creek, providing pedestrian access to the little-used northeast corner of the park, where the dog park is planned.
Grading for the dog park was included as an option in the bridge project. The estimated cost of the bridge and the grading is $322,484.
The board considered but rejected a $1,042,172 version of the bridge and grading project that included the build-out of the dog park and an adjacent trail.
Holly Morrison is president of the El Dorado Dog Owners Guild, whose members have committed to fundraising to pay for the construction of the dog park. After the meeting she said she was disappointed that the board wasn’t more enthusiastic about the dog park project.
Morrison learned about Stantec’s $392,728 estimate for the dog park during the December Parks and Planning Committee meeting and, according to meeting minutes, was “shocked” that the cost of the two fenced dog runs came in more than the EDDOG estimate of $200,000.
EDDOG has raised $53,000 to date for the El Dorado Hills dog park, according to its website.
Stantec’s current estimate for the EDDOG portion of the dog park includes six $1,500 tables, 21 $1,000 benches, two $4,500 drinking fountains, six $875 trash receptacles, two $12,000 shade structures, six $450 pet waste dispensers and 1,205 lineal feet of vinyl chain link fence at $33 per foot.
Oakley emphasized that Stantec’s estimates are strictly for planning purposes. Each aspect of the approved projects will go out to bid. “As the projects progress we’ll continue to do value engineering to keep costs down,” he said.
Oakley said he hopes to award the bids by early summer, depending on the county permit approval delays, and hopes start construction this summer and complete the work in three months.
The park improvements were approved on a 3-1 vote, with Director Guy Gertsch absent and Director Noelle Mattock opposing.
Mattock explained that her opposition was based on the inconsistency of funding the basketball court but not the dog park or the veterans’ memorial, both of which were also proposed as no/low-cost CSD projects.
“I support the concept, but I’m going to say ‘no’ [because] we’ve asked the veterans and the dog park folks to pitch in and we’re holding their feet to the fire.”
The park improvements were approved during the Jan. 12 board meeting, which was Interim General Manager Richard Ramirez’ first public appearance with the board since being hired on Jan. 3. Ramirez was brought in to provide leadership while a national search for a new general manager is conducted.
He had this to say about the Community Park improvements: “There’s money in place to pay for them and they’ve got low maintenance costs. These enhancements will increase the enjoyment of the park. In the long run people will look back on this as a prudent decision by this board.”
In other CSD news:
Local activist Greg Jones, of Jones Public Relations, has been hired to help the CSD board strategize a reaction to proposed El Dorado Irrigation District rate structure changes that will impact the CSD, according to Interim General Manager Rich Ramirez.
CAB Roof complete
The gymnasium, or “Community Activities Building” in CSD parlance, roof project, budgeted at $605,000 was completed for $518,647. The damage caused by the freak October storm that soaked the ceiling and ultimately the floor, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage, is being covered by insurance.
Windsor Park rumblings
During the January board meeting Marina residents Ray Meyers, Kim White and Sue Parker presented a draft design for the dirt patch known as Windsor Point Park. Oakley was already gathering Windsor Point options for the Parks and Planning Committee.
El Dorado Hills residents recycled a whopping 61 percent of their trash during the third quarter of 2011, according to Assistant General Manager Sandi Kukkola.
Director Wayne Lowery, who served as the district’s general manager for 20 years, said that 61 percent is the highest diversion rate he can recall.
State Assembly Bill 939 requires the CSD, as the franchising authority for solid waste collection and recycling, to divert at least 50 percent of the El Dorado Hills waste stream from the landfill through recycling incentives and programs.