By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
Facing a request to spend $621,500 from the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Stabilization Fund to complete work at Sacramone Park, as well as add a new concession stand and restrooms, the City Council voted Monday night for part, but not all, of the request.
The Council voted to authorize $150,000 in funding to allow the park improvements to the playing fields to be completed in time for the spring sports schedule, but held off on some $471,500 in requests until a more complete discussion with the administration is held at next month’s Council meeting.
According to Council President Peter Napolitano, the Council received a complete explanation of the planned improvements to Sacramone Park when the item appeared before the Council Ways and Means subcommittee last Thursday, Jan. 18. However, there is still some question about whether the complete package of improvements is necessary and if the CIP Stabilization Fund is the best way to pay for those.
The sticking point happens to be the concession stand, which came in at a price larger than the cost of some single-family homes.
“The City has gone through the bidding process, but the fact is that the cost of the concession stand is as much as building a small house,” noted Napolitano wryly. “Obviously, when you take on this kind of project there are requirements that have to be met and that drives the cost up.”
Considering the need to build the restrooms, bleacher stands and concession stand to current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and the relative needs of the youth sports programs that use the field, some might feel that not all of the upgrades are needed at this time.
“The administration asked us to table the portion of the project we have questions about and allow the actual needs of the sports fields to be completed,” said Napolitano. “So we separated the project and will discuss the remaining portions of the project with the mayor at our next meeting. This way we make sure the work on the fields is completed while we decide what to do with the larger project.”