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Parks Commission updates on current projects

by Tia Lyons | July 4, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

The El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds Commission is looking to wrap up the first phases of a master plan to improve city parks in order to move on to the next batch of improvements.

Commissioners have expressed frustration about the pace at which some projects are moving and those discussions continued during a regular meeting last week.

Most of the improvement projects that were launched in 2021 have been completed.

The work is being funded by the El Dorado Works tax, a one-cent city sales tax that is earmarked for projects that are intended to improve economic development, municipal infrastructure and quality of life in El Dorado.

The funding packages covered the purchase of several large pieces of equipment for Lions Club Municipal Golf Course; paving the Leslie Ann Darden Trail, a recreational trail that encircles the LCMGC, the Union County Fairgrounds and the El Dorado School District soccer fields; the construction of two new basketball courts for Lions Club Park, just south of the golf course pro shop; and the purchase of new park-style, charcoal BBQ grills for Neel, Mattocks, Mellor, Mosby and Old City parks.

Additional projects, including the installation of two water fountains for the north and south sides of the recreational trail and a public restroom to serve the basketball courts and the south end of the trail, have yet to be completed.

Commissioners and Robert Edmonds, city director of public works, have said that a notice to proceed on the restroom project was issued last November to contractor Diversified Construction and Design.

However, little progress has been made on the pilot project, which commissioners will use to gauge how public restrooms will work in city parks to determine if more will be added to other parks in the future.

Edmonds said the delay has been due, in part, to supply chain bottlenecks stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

EPPC Chairman Ken Goudy said the concrete foundational slab and plumbing implements have been set for the restroom.

"Not much has been done since the last time we talked about it," Commissioner Alexis Alexander said. "It's just been dragging ... and I'm just tired of waiting."

Alexander pointed out that the EPPC cannot move forward with preparing a funding request for the El Dorado Works Board, who administers the El Dorado Works tax, for more park improvements until the pending projects are completed.

"They said they would not be willing to give any more money to the parks and playgrounds commission until we finish those projects," Alexander said.

Commissioners said they also want to advance ongoing efforts to develop a plan for a public aquatics facility for the city.

The project is included in the master plan and is tied to the closure and subsequent demolition of the Mattocks Park swimming pool.

The pool, which was nearly 70 years old and was the city's only public swimming pool, was razed in March after having been closed for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Considering the age, poor condition of the pool and waning interest in the pool, which opened each summer, parks and playgrounds commissioners decided last fall to raze it for safety reasons.

In June, Edmonds said conceptual designs that were drafted by local architect Michael Rogers -- of M R Designs, a local architectural and design firm, who holds a professional services contract with the city -- may be used to prepare bid/construction documents for the aquatics project.

Rogers previously presented concepts for three options, including:

• A zero-entry, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-accessible pool with a section for four swim lanes.

• A larger pool and a smaller, "kiddie" pool.

• A splash-pad only.

An EPPC subcommittee, made up of commissioners Glenn Faust, Greg Harrison and David Hurst, is working on the matter and agreed late last month to review and refine details to prepare the documents.

The EPPC's planning process will include public hearings to solicit feedback from local residents and Faust has said public comments may or may not favor placing the new facility in Mattocks Park.

On June 22, Harrison said the subcommittee had not yet scheduled another meeting to continue discussions about the project.

Print Headline: Parks Commission updates on current projects

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