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$6M list for park projects

Posted: December 7, 2011 - 1:01am

The Parks and Recreation department has solidified its list of parks and trails that it will ultimately ask the public to support funding via the 1 percent temporary sales tax.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee reviewed the list — which comes down to about $5.8 million. Parks Superintendent George Schaaf said the department hasn’t received sales tax funds for parks in 13 years. The idea behind the array of projects is to impact as wide of swath of the borough as possible.

The list has backed off some projects or reduced funding, while increasing others due to more realistic cost estimates.

• Areawide deferred maintenance projects remain at the top of staff’s list for park needs. The cost estimate is $200,000, and would replace rotting wooden bollards, replace unsafe or abandoned drinking fountains, benches, bike racks, upgrade lighting and install security cameras in high-vandalism areas.

• Jensen-Olson Arboretum would get $150,000 for assistance in funding a parking lot and conservatory. The committee expects funding to be used as matching funds for grants.

• Off-Highway Vehicle park saw a small increase in funding — now at $100,000. Funding would complete preliminary mapping and design and provide construction options that could include parking areas, trails, bathrooms or other facilities. The city already has $50,000 set aside for this.

• Cope Park is still looking at $550,000 for safety and security improvements. This would remove abandoned bathrooms and failing structures, replace the aging playground structure, replace cracked/uneven tennis courts, install lighting and enclose the ball field.

• Marine Park estimates have dropped significantly to $250,000, down from the tentative $1 million initially proposed. The focus on improvements to the area is to provide a cultural gateway/ village green.

• Twin Lakes Park saw a small increase in proposed funding needed for safety repairs and ADA compliance issues. It would replace the rubber material at the playground to be ADA accessible, repair sidewalks, paths and the gangway that’s separating from shore. It also would repair five failing culverts and install lighting.

• Chicken Yard Park would see improved safety for children using its facilities (but would not change the traffic pattern of vehicles driving through the park to access homes), and also would replace the 27-year-old play equipment for $200,000.

• Bridge Park funding was dramatically reduced from $500,000 to $100,000. Funding would turn the area, which currently has an old public works building on it, into a park area. It also would help develop a master plan for the area and develop off-street parking.

• Capital School Park would see a renovation with $500,000 — an increase from $350,000. Schaaf said the increase is due to receiving more accurate numbers on what it would cost to install bathrooms. Other improvements would include improving lighting, fixing drainage problems and constructing a new playground due to heavy neighborhood use.

• Douglas Treadwell Mine Historic Park Preservation funding went up by $100,000 to a total of $250,000. Schaaf said the increase is because of presentations by the preservation committee and by more accurate estimates for repairing the pumphouse.

• Fish Creek Park would receive $250,000 in improvements for relocating the bathroom and constructing a permanent “vault-style” toilet to cut down on vandalism costs and by constructing handicapped-accessible fishing decks.

• Dimond Park would seek $750,000 in funding to basically have a “re-do” of the core area. This would include a combo bathroom/concession stand, replacing the scoreboard at one field and adding scoreboards to the others, fix drainage and pedestrian access problems and paving the road to the fieldhouse.

• Adair-Kennedy also would get similar improvements with replacement of a vandal-prone bathroom/concession building, upgrading lighting, installation of security cameras and replacement of unusable park fixtures. The total for these improvements is estimated at $550,000.

• Lemon Creek would get a new neighborhood park. The department owns land in that area and believes the one park in that area of town is insufficient. This would be connected to the trail system and cost $200,000.

• Riverside Rotary Park would see bathroom construction and playground replacement for $500,000.

• Melvin Park would receive $325,000 for bathroom renovations, renovations to the wooden grandstands and replace storage lockers. The bathroom was burned via arson several years ago and only partially repaired.

• Treadwell Ditch Trail would receive $150,000 to construct a 50-foot bridge, and eight 15-foot bridges. It would rehabilitate 1.5 miles of trails and start the connection of more than 40 miles of trails.

• Montana Creek Trail would see $300,000 in restoration funds to reconstruct 6,800 feet of flooded train with turnpike and construct bridges.

• Auke Lake Trail would see $75,000 for construction of a gravel path between Auke Lake and Montana Creek trails.

• Horse Tram Trail would get $125,000 in restoration funds and would rebuild ADA accessible trail.

The committee voted with seven of nine members in favor. Member Gerry Landry abstained, though he didn’t specify a reason. Member Melissa Goldstein was absent at the vote, but had earlier expressed support of the package.

This package will next go to the city manager’s office for further vetting and could eventually make it to the Assembly before it goes to the voters.

The tax expires next year if not extended by the voters. Each year the tax brings in approximately $8 million per year.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

• Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect a correction in the amount designated for the Off-Highway Vehicle park.

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