ESCONDIDO — The City Council approved a budget adjustment for the 2016 Housing-Related Park project funds during its Oct. 25 meeting at City Hall.
The city received $1,773,650 from the California Department of Housing and Community Development over four grant years (2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015). The city was awarded an additional $1,207,000 on July 1, 2016, for a 2016 HRP. No matching funds are required.
Karen Youel, housing and neighborhood services manager, and Joe Galarth, interim director of public works, delivered the report to the council with staff’s recommendations.
Youel said investments in multiple parks include Washington Park, Grove Park, Westside Park, Felicita mini-park and Grape Day Park. Also included are recreational facilities such as the Don Anderson Building, Mathes Center, Oak Hill Activity Center, and others. Two sculpture collections: “Pillars of the Community” on South Escondido Boulevard and “Monuments to Time in the Corridor of Life, Art and Culture,” which begins in Grape Day Park and extends to the intersection of Maple and Grand Avenue, were also included.
“The city designed and constructed a new playground structure in Grape Day Park,” Youel said. “The Washington Park pool project removed existing plaster … and updated equipment to meet current standards. Additional lighting has been installed and has a new water heater.”
Previous funds also aided in upgrades to the Santa Fe Train Depot and Park Avenue Community Center. The largest project was to extend the lifespan of the Jim Stone Pool.
Because of savings, Youel said other projects throughout the city were eligible for improvements.
The council debated whether to entertain other options such as skate parks or other upgrades to maximize additional parks. However, the funds have a specific use, so some of those options would have to wait for Capital Improvement Plan funds.
“I would like to see our money improve existing parks and then look at some other options,” Mayor Sam Abed said.
In previous cycles the city has used HRP funds to paint and reroof the Santa Fe Train Museum in Grape Day Park, install a new play structure in Grape Day Park, rehabilitate play equipment at Westside Park and Grove Park, rebuild the Jim Stone Pool mechanical room, resurface the Jim Stone and Washington Park pools, renovate multiple rooms and reroof the Park Avenue Community Center, replace signage and repaint the East Valley Community Center and upgrade the Oak Hill Activity Center.