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Park plan proffered

Submitted by on 1, April 7, 2010 – 5:00 am3 Comments

Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant is asking the City Council to pay for a master plan for the Island’s parks that would guide the city’s efforts to find money to pay for badly needed upgrades and the creation of new green space.

Gallant said the plan would cost $140,000, and she’d like the council to put the money in next year’s budget. The plan could guide efforts to do long-neglected maintenance in Alameda’s parks and help the city apply for grants for parks and charge appropriate fees for parks and recreation facilities to developers who build new homes here.

“There’s a laundry list of things that are thought to be needed, but they’re not driven by a master plan,” Gallant said, adding that parks are clearly a priority to Alameda residents.

She said the city needs a plan to apply for grants to bolster its parks. And a plan would help city staff decide how much money or what facilities new housing developers should be expected to pay for.

It could also help the council prioritize park funding so money to properly maintain Alameda’s parks is included in the budget each year.

Recreation and Park Department Director Dale Lillard laid out the state of the Island’s existing parks Tuesday night, and it was sorry due to years of deferred maintenance. Light fixtures and fences are rusting in place; pools, basketball and tennis courts are in need of resurfacing; even the trees are beginning to fall down.

Irrigation systems are guided by mechanical clocks that have been in place since the 1970s, Lillard said.

“We put money aside to do periodic maintenance,” Vice Mayor Doug deHaan said. “But in the last 10 years – it looks like we haven’t been able to get to some of the hardcore problems.”

“No, we haven’t,” Lillard replied, saying most of that money is used for day-to-day maintenance. Lillard said the city handles big fixes with one-time money like the Measure WW bonds that are often only available every five to 10 years.

Gallant also laid out a list of potential new park sites, most of which were familiar to council members: The estuary, the northern waterfront, the city’s just-purchased Belt Line property and Alameda Point.

Council members said they like the idea of the plan and they’d be willing to consider okaying the money to pay for it. DeHaan said some of the potential upgrades – like new irrigation systems – could help pay for themselves by saving the city money.

Gallant said staff has prepared a request for proposals for the plan. She said she’d offer more details on what information would be in the plan as budget discussions continue.

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