Bluffparkal spoke with City Administrator, Allan Rice for an update on improvements to the Bluff Park Community Center. Resident Sam Swiney posted on Facebook this week that work had begun at the community center. Sam will be sharing some updated photographs with us as work progresses starting with the one below.
THE HISTORY - because it is important to know
|Courtesy Sam Swiney|
The city holds a 99-year lease on the property for the Bluff Park Community Center. The lease began in 1987 and is still effective today. The community center (originally called the Bluff Park and Shades Cliff Community Center) is situated on three acres of park land and can be used for meetings, parties, classes, and more events scheduled with Hoover Park and Recreation. The building is furnished with a kitchen, large floor space, storage area for tables and chairs, and bathrooms. Unfortunately, the only access to the restrooms are from the inside, so people enjoying the park and play areas cannot use them because the community center is locked unless it is in use.
|Original drawing Courtesy Hale Family Collection|
“We wanted to create the quickest access to restrooms for park users due to the number of requests that the city has received about the community park,” Rice says. “It is still possible that another solution will be implemented in the long term, but this was a very economical way to provide proper facilities to park users in the short term.”
Rice says the city received good feedback about the heavy use of the park by families on a daily basis, Trucks on the Bluff and Pets on the Bluff social events, and the annual Bluff Park Art Show. “All park users will now have access to proper restroom facilities, whether they are there on a family outing, enjoying a food truck event or other community gatherings,” he continues.
“We are creating an exterior access to the existing restrooms inside the community center by removing a window, creating a doorway, and adding steps on the outside of the building,” Rice explains. “This will give park users the ability to access the restrooms from a separate outside door. There will be a corridor created that separates the restroom access from the interior of the community center, and there will also be an interior door that allows people inside the community center to access the restrooms.”
Rice says the cost of this project will be less than $15,000. ‘This is coming from funds that were part of the current capital budget that was proposed by Mayor Brocato and approved by the City Council,” he says.
The Bluff Park Community Center and park are already maintained by the city, and this will not change after improvements are finished. Park and Recreation crews will adjust the cleaning schedule to reflect the heavier usage of the facilities. “Our park rangers will be responsible for locking/unlocking the restroom access as part of their normal rounds. Park operating hours are sunrise to sunset, so the restrooms will be available during that timeframe,” Rice explains.
MORE GOOD NEWS!
Rice says they expect for the work to be finished in the next two weeks so the restrooms will be open for Summer.
MORE TO COME - but no tennis courts
We asked Mr Rice about other improvements to the park and community center that the community has suggested and asked for. Rice says they are looking at placement for additional lighting and are finalizing costs. Also, based on recent heavy rains, the city is also evaluating stormwater drainage issues and will be formulating possible options to reduce or alleviate water problems.
If you didn't know, there is a single tennis court that is overgrown on the back side of Shades Cliff pool. The court was refurbished back in 2006 by an area Eagle Scout. Unfortunately, it was misued (by kids hanging around in there at night) and neighbors complained to the city. Rice says there are no current plans to restore the tennis courts, adding that it is their understanding that it is not adequate in size for tennis, and there were adjacent neighbors who objected to its use when it was previously active. For the court to be restored, there would need to be community dialogue and possibly some renovations, if space permits.