Proposed El Dorado Park Dog Park, Previously Described As Facility To Be Built/Run With Privately Raised Funds, Quietly Slated To Receive At Least $31,300, Perhaps Up To $65,000, From 4th Council District Infrastructure Funds
|(July 7, 2012, noon) -- LBReport.com has learned that a proposed El Dorado Park dog park, publicly described as a project that would be built and operated using privately raised funds, has been quietly slated to receive at least $31,300 and as much as $65,000 in FY12 City of Long Beach budgeted money.
A document attached to agendized materials for the June 18, 2012 meeting of the City Council's Budget Oversight Committee (DeLong, O'Donnell, Lowenthal) indicates that 4th district Councilman Patrick O'Donnell has allocated $31,300 from his district's $500,000 share of FY12 uplands oil revenue -- which could be used for 4th district infrastructure items including repairing sidewalks, potholes or other needs -- for the proposed dog park. Parks & Rec documents and staff had indicated that the proposed facility would be built and operated with funds raised by a private 501(c)(3) entity, "Friends of El Dorado Dog Park."
On the third page of a five page document (applicable citywide) titled "One-Time Uplands Oil Funds - Project Status," a line item under 4th district infrastructure projects indicates that "El Dorado Park Dog Park" has $31,300 budgeted, with $0 spent as of May 31, 2012 and $31,300 remaining to be spent.
In addition, under "status as reported by departments," the line item indicates "Project is estimated at $65,000; balance funded by the District's discretionary infrastructure budget." (LBReport.com is in the process of confirming the budget source for what appears to $33,700 in additional public money [producing the total of $65,000]).
As previously reported by LBReport.com, on November 10, 2011, LB's Parks & Recreation Commission voted 7-0 to support a Parks/Rec staff recommendation to locate a potential dog park in El Dorado Park at the former "Tree Farm" site (maintenance yard north of access road to the Animal Control facility).
Parks & Rec staff's agendizing memo said the proposed facility would be [agendizing memo text] "funded by Friends of El Dorado Dog Park" and recommended that the City Council authorize the city manager to sign necessary documents with the private group "to allow for third party development, maintenance and solicitation of funds for the proposed use for a period of three years."
Parks & Rec staff's memo recommended "a timeline of two years by which Friends must provide into an escrow account, the funds necessary to build the EDDP [El Dorado Dog Park] to specifications created by the City, as well as an amount equal to three years of maintenance costs. Pending approval of a sponsorship policy for PRM [Parks, Rec & Marine], staff recommends affirmation of the Commission's prior approval of Friends soliciting donations and sponsorships on behalf of a City-approved project."
The proposed dog park item sparked controversy pro and con, producing a
Parks & Rec Commissioner Harry Saltzgaver made the motion to approve staff's recommendation "with the understanding that this continues to be a conceptual approval contingent upon funding and other required approvals."
Four days earlier, roughly 60 people (also pro and con) ignored rain and a chilly wind to hear Parks & Rec staff unveil its recommended location for the dog park during at a Sunday morning Nov. 6 outdoor on-site meeting ("Let's Meet for the Mutts") previously scheduled by Councilman Patrick O'Donnell.
LBReport.com provides archival video of the Nov. 6 on-site meeting at which LB Parks & Rec's senior staffer Bob Livingstone described the funding and financial obligations to be undertaken by "Friends of El Dorado Dog Park" in order for the project to proceed. HIs statements were made in the presence of Councilman O'Donnell and Friends of El Dorado Dog Park president Mary Matthiensen. To launch video, click here.
Eight months earlier at the March 17, 2011 Parks & Recreation Commission meeting, minutes indicate the "total cost of the project, including fundraising and first year maintenance, is estimated at $150,000, which is not currently available through City sources...Partners of Parks and Friends [of El Dorado Dog Park] have agreed to work together to obtain park construction funding through donations and sponsorships." Parks & Rec. Director George Chapjian said the Department was [quoting minutes] "in cutback mode and cannot take on more cost."
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