23 Aug 2014
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City Council Debates All-Weather Field

Heated discussion focuses on penciling in a specific amount as Walnut Creek awaits report on ballfield priorities.

City Council Debates All-Weather Field

A City Council discussion of 2012-14 budget priorities grew heated for a minute Tuesday night in an exchange of opinions on funding for an all-weather field at Heather Farm Park.

"We're just delaying a decision," said Mayor Pro Tem Kish Rajan. "We make decisions in the budget process. I'm baffled as to what we're waiting for."

Rajan was responding to a suggestion by Council member Cindy Silva. With the results of a consultant's analysis of the city's ballfields expected in six to eight weeks, Silva suggested the city hold off designating an amount for an all-weather field — and instead budget a dollar figure for recreation capital projects and specify the projects at a later date. The field, tentatively planned for Field 5 and/or Field 6, was pegged at $2 million in a staff report for the budget workshop.

Silva said there was about 90 percent of the information needed for the council to make priority decisions on a series of capital projects:

  • the all-weather field at Heather Farm Park;
  • an overhaul of the pool at Larkey Park;
  • Civic Park construction estimated at $1.25 million to make a permanent site for the Walnut Creek on Ice rink in winter and use for bocce courts at other times, plus realignment of walkways and creating a place for near the downtown library. The Civic Park plans are due to go before the council at its next meeting, May 1, after review by the city's Park, Recreation and Open Space Commission.

Beyond repairs at the Larkey Park pool, the city has listed as a discretionary expense the possibility of a splash feature, estimated at $600,000. The proposal merited further study, argued Mayor Bob Simmons, because the fees charged for it would increase overall cost recovery for the Larkey pool.

The council on Tuesday passed no resolutions designating budget amounts. Instead, it gave city staff direction on budget priorities in aiming for the budget to be finalized by mid-June.

For instance, because of concern for the expense, there was a council consensus to remove from the budget at this stage, potentially at Civic Drive and at Shadelands. The signs were intended to replace the inconvenience and expense of city workers putting up temporary signs when there is a blockage on the busy artery. Much of the cost would be building an extensive foundation to support signs at the side of the road with a high pole and a sign overhanging the busy road, said city Engineer Steve Waymire.

Other transportation projects listed under discretionary capital projects include:

  • in-pavement lights, estimated at $300,000, in various locations, including Locust Street, at Main Street near Target, and Walnut Avenue. 
  • a sidewalk on Ygnacio Valley Road from Oakland to Parkside.
  • extended left-turn lanes on Ygnacio Valley at San Carlos, and Civic Drive at Ygnacio Valley.

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