CARLSBAD — It is no secret the city has several ambitious goals.
And while progress is being made, albeit slowly, the council was in agreement about creating more tasks or microgoals to highlight for residents to show progress. In addition, the council members all agreed the future of the city’s population relating to build-out is another critical component for the city to begin studying.
Another theme was the new City Hall and whether to add a civic center component. The city has already started planning and scoping work, which is being done by MIG Inc., who was awarded the contract in February.
The council’s goal with a new City Hall is to consolidate departments currently spread throughout the city. With a civic center, it would add cost and time, although the council said it could be phased in.
“Building the public work center is tracking ahead of the City Hall project,” Mayor Matt Hall said. “The question of capacity for the city to build two large facilities at the same time.”
Currently, there are four locations scouted for the new facility. They include the current location on Pio Pico Drive, Pine Park and the Faraday and Farmers Insurance buildings.
If Pine Park is selected, it may alleviate the civic center component as a large facility is already in place housing the Senior Center with other public amenities. The Faraday site, meanwhile, would include the property adjacent to the south and is more centrally located.
However, Councilman Michael Schumacher said he preferred City Hall to remain as close to Carlsbad Village as possible. He said the Village is the heartbeat of the city, and the new facility should be in close proximity.
As for the timeline, the council expects the building to be up and operational within five to seven years.
Should the city proceed with a civic center, staff would reach out to residents for comments on the look, feel and amenities provided. Hall, though, cautioned about the costs, noting Escondido’s facility ran more than $100 million just 20 years ago.
Build-out was another topic discussed with the council looking toward the future.
Councilman Mark Packard noted the city must be versatile when it comes to retail, as more and more small brick-and-mortar stores struggle to compete with the growing influence of online shopping.
“Our position as a city is to stay healthy and viable,” he added. “This long-term goal requires a lot of effort to figure out how we want to be in 20 to 30 years.”
Michael Schumacher said his concerns center on new legislation coming from Sacramento, the Growth Management Plan and how it will be applied in the future and how to get out in front of the issue.
“There are a lot of changes on the state level that are out of our control,” Michael Schumacher said. “It will shape our future, so we should not be playing defense. We need to be on offense.”
Councilwoman Cori Schumacher (no relation) agreed, adding other long-term goals for the city to focus on are smart energy storage and security, trenching the railroad tracks and revising language within the council’s goal setting workshops to include being a smart city.