Recommends that City Council hire a design consulting firm to update the 2009 Veterans Community Park master plan

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The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee met Tuesday and unanimously agreed to recommend that City Council spend up to $40,000 to hire a design consulting firm to update the Veterans Community Park master plan.

Committee member Litha Berger said she contacted Kimley-Horn and Associates – the design consulting firm that helped devise the 2009 Veterans Community Park master plan – to discuss updating the plan because she believes it's time to finally move forward with the project.

“This is really silly; we’re dragging our feet,” she said. “We’ve got to get this project going; this is nonsense.”

Kimley-Horn gave Berger a proposal for the scoop of work it would provide as part of the update, including: client and stakeholder meetings; a preparation of a draft master plan document; a 3D digital model of improvements; and recommendation of next steps. The estimated cost of the update is $40,000, which committee members agreed was a great deal.

“This is a great start and the fact that it’s $40,000 and we have $250,000 to begin with … it’s the way to go,” Dolores Siegel said, referring to the 2017 budget funds City Council allocated to PRAC for the development of Veterans Community Park, “and I think the sooner we go, the better.”

Carlos Portu concurred.

“I think this is an appropriate next step in the process,” he said. “I think that it’s very reasonable for us to continue through our process of taking the community’s input in 2016 and ultimately putting it into what will be the ultimate master plan for [the park] going forward.”

Chairman Jerry Swiacki said it’s important for citizens to be involved with the update process and recommended asking Kimley-Horn to present its proposal at the next PRAC meeting so that everyone will be on the same page.

“I think it’s a great idea and I don’t want to shortchange it,” he said. “When we go in front of council … and say, ‘This is what the committee has recommended,’ I want them to say, ‘You have a nice package here, go ahead with it,’ because they’re going to analyze this before they spend the money, [as] they should.”

However, the contract for the update might have to go through the request for quotation (RFQ) process, meaning Kimley-Horn might not be the firm that ultimately does the update, so Portu argued that it doesn’t make sense to have the company present at the next PRAC meeting, and doing so would only delay the process.

“I’m not sure we should put this on the back burner for another month,” he said. “Theoretically this is what we want and what we’ve talked about … so while I think it’d be great to have them come down here and tell us everything that’s in the proposal, if it’s going to put us back one month for us to talk about it again, another month for Council to meet after that, and then another month for it to get back to us and three more months for it to go to RFQ, let’s just go. Let’s just move on with it.”

So they did, and city staff will present PRAC’s recommendation at the next City Council meeting, which is 5:30 p.m., Nov. 14, in the community room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive. PRAC’s next meeting is 3:30 p.m., Nov. 15, in the City Council’s chambers.

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