Four new multipurpose fields and additional amenities are coming to Central Park following a unanimous vote by the Santa Clarita City Council to spend up to $11.87 million on upgrades Tuesday.
During their latest meeting, the council approved plans, specifications and a total construction contract for $10,747,788 to add two new fields and convert an open turf area into two more full-sized multipurpose fields. Other expenditures for the project include those that would be used for engineering services and art installation(s).
The plan also includes the installation of sport field lighting, landscaping and irrigation, various site furnishings, a restroom building, upgrades to the adjacent dog park and additional parking.
“The buildout of Central Park is one of the items in our Santa Clarita 2025 strategic plan,” said Carrie Lujan, a spokeswoman for the city of Santa Clarita. “Over the years, Central Park has continued to grow in popularity and we’ve seen an increase in demand for field space and special events.”
“By adding additional multipurpose fields we will be able to accommodate more residents and provide additional recreational opportunities,” Lujan added. “This project also includes several other new amenities, which residents will enjoy, including an exercise staircase, field lighting, a new restroom, additional parking and enhancements to the Central Bark dog park.”
Santa Clarita resident Steve Petzold was the only public speaker to criticize the plan, saying that the funding for the expansion would come from the COVID-19 funds allocated to the city.
“It appears as if you’re substituting the funding that had been allocated for building out the park and now you’re drawing on COVID-19 relief funds,” said Petzold. “And I don’t know exactly why you would do that if you already had the money allocated.”
“Generations are going to be paying for this park going into the future when you use COVID-19 funds,” he added.
Approximately $11.87 million for the project would be taken from the American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 Response Fund, with the remaining funds after the initial costs going to further construction support costs, labor compliance services and staff oversight, construction engineering, inspection and project management. The project funding from the ARPA would then decrease the fund usage for the project from the Facilities Fund, Areawide Fund and General Fund – Capital.
Cameron Smyth said that the funds could be used for “loss of economic impact,” citing that a number of sports tournaments and events are held at the park, but those had been put on hold for the last year and a half as a result of COVID-19.
Petzold also asked that the $100,000 for the Central Park Art account would be used to commemorate a 1954 C-46 cargo plane crash in Bouquet Canyon. The 15 Civil Air Patrol chaplains and three Air Force crew members on board the aircraft all survived by parachuting out.
Mayor Bill Miranda instructed city staff to look into the possibility for commemorating the crash.