+ El Dorado Park Artificial Turf Soccer Field Cost Balloons Over 50% To $2.35 Mil....And It's In FY21 Budget Your Councilmember Just Voted To Approve, Project Is Now Out To Bid
LBReport.com

News / In Depth

El Dorado Park Artificial Turf Soccer Field Cost Balloons Over 50% To $2.35 Mil....And It's In FY21 Budget Your Councilmember Just Voted To Approve, Project Is Now Out To Bid



If LBREPORT.com didn't tell you,
who would?
No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report.

LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.

(Sept. 11, 2020, 7:10 p.m.) -- The City Council's 9-0 vote on Sept. 8, approving a FY 21 City Hall spending budget quietly included a line item allocating $2.35 million -- up from $1.5 million -- to install an artificial turf soccer field in El Dorado Park West (along Studebaker Rd. north of Willow St.)

LBREPORT.com has also learned that the El Dorado Park artificial turf field has been put out to bid (with an Oct. 2 deadline.)

The project, controversial from its inception, has pitted park protection advocates, neighborhood residents and taxpayers against city staff, some soccer advocates and Councilwoman Stacy Mungo.


Image source: City management agendizing memo, Nov. 2019

What accounts for an $850.000 taxpayer cost increase (over 50%)? "The additional budget need was discovered once we had a detailed design and updated cost estimates to go along with it. In addition, a combination of escalation and ADA design requirements contributed to the cost increases," Nancy Villasenor, Capital Projects Coordinator, tells LBREPORT.com.

Ms. Villasenor says the artificial turf field's FY21 budgeted cost has increased despite eliminating items from the scope to reduce cost These include eliminating "electrical conduit and panel upgrades for future sports field lighting, elimination of one goal stop (the one nearest to the parking lot remains), eliminating concrete pads for the decorative boulders, and reducing a 6 fence to a 4 fence. There were also plans to plant shrubs around some of the boulder clusters and that was removed as well."

Councilwoman Mungo didn't mention the upcoming FY 21 budget item or its now $2.35 million cost in her recent "Neighborly News" newsletters. Or when the project came to a Nov. 21, 2019 Parks and Rec Commission meeting, or when it came to the Feb. 11 Budget Oversight Committee meeting she chaired, or when it was agendized for the Feb. 18 and March 17 Council meetings..

[Although this was a 5th district item, all LB Councilmembers voted for it (9-0) as part of their adopted FY 21 City Hall budget and are thus fairly accountable to LB taxpayers for its cost.]

Scroll down for further.]








At the March 17, 2020 City Council meeting (when management's cost estimate was $1.5 million), then-Acting City Manager Tom Modica indicated that in view of COVID-19 developments, city staff might not to spend some of the items as described in the agendizing memo but didn't specify which ones. He indicated that for some items city staff would return to seek Council approval before spending the sums. "When we put this on we were not expecting COVID-19 at the level where we're at, so we would ask your permission to hold off on any of these things if we find that really [audio unclear] redirect it given the crisis, so we would like staff permission and then we'd come back to you and reappropriate that and get your approval before spending it."

A Council motion (by Mungo) to lay the item over to a future Council meeting carried 9-0.

Sponsor

Sponsor

A Feb. 18, 2020 agenda item (on FY19 budget performance) drew public responses when it referenced allocating $1.5 million for the artificial turf field. Veteran El Dorado Park advocate Ann Cantrell ("Friends of El Dorado Park East") submitted written testimony in opposition. Ms. Cantrell (in her 80's) noted that her doctor told her to isolate herself due to the coronavirus so she couldn't testify personally. She asked that her testimony be read aloud at the Council meeting Neither the Mayor nor any Councilmember acknowledged her written testimony much less read it aloud. Ms. Cantrell wrote in pertinent part:

...Replacing biological organisms with plastic in our environment is aesthetically, ecologically, and morally disturbing in an array of ways
  • Plastic leaches toxins in landfills
  • Plastics contain toxins
  • Plastic turf adds to urban heat island effect
  • Plastic turf is NOT permeable nor does it retain water on site
  • Plastic turf needs to be watered to cool it down
  • Plastic turf is more harmful to players
  • Plastic ends up in the ocean even when we don't intend it to
  • Plastic turf creates no habitat and provides no ecosystem services...

    This section of El Dorado Park uses reclaimed water which cannot be used to clean or cool the plastic field. Is the cost of redoing the water system with potable water included in the $1.5 million? What are the maintenance costs for the existing 4 fields? Is maintenance included in the 1.5 million?

    Players do not like plastic fields; park users do like plastic fields; neighbors do not like plastic fields; wildlife do not like plastic fields. Why is the City even considering spending 1.5 million on this environmental disaster? Please vote no...

  • Eastside Voice president (and former 5th dist. Council candidate) Corliss Lee supported Ms. Cantrell's points and cited El Dorado Park areas she said need repairs and would be better use of $1.5 million sum.

    In a March 17 email to Mayor Garcia and the Council, El Dorado Park South Neighborhood advocate Grace Earl credited the Council for eliminating plastic straws from Long Beach and enacting other ordinances showing "how bad plastic is for our environment" then asked pointedly: "[W]hy are you all wanting to install a plastic field in El Dorado Park West as a replacement for the grass field that has been used by Long Beach kids for over 30 years?" Ms. Earl urged the Council to vote "no" on the "1.5 million dollar unsafe, unsustainable, water wasting, manpower intensive maintenance plastic soccer field."

    Taxpayer Maria Arriola was more blunt. In a single sentence email sent to LB's City Clerk, she wrote: "Please do not vote yes on a soccer bill at this time when we don't what will come next with corona virus."

    Jon Schultz supported plans for the artificial turf field (without mentioning its then-$1.5 mil Measure A cost.)

    Councilmembers signaled at their Feb. 18 meeting that they didn't object to the $1.5 million allocation. Councilwoman Mungo said she was comfortable with management's recommendations for allocating $4.3 million in Measure A FY19 "surplus" for a number of items (subject to some amendments from her committee) that included the $1.5 million El Dorado Park artificial turf soccer field.

    "Measure A and the promises of Measure A have consistently year after year been fulfilled. The promises that this dais, this board, made were for infrastructure and public safety. And maintaining our parks and libraries are [sic] as important as our streets," Councilwoman Mungo said on February 18, 2020.

    Parks/Rec staff contends replacing natural grass turf with synthetic turf on soccer fields has several benefits, including providing a playing surface that addresses field safety issues and enhances playability to meet demand" and would mean less "down time" for soccer fields. (Image below prior to project changes referenced above.)


    Image source: City management Nov. 2019 agendizing memo

    Artificial turf fields have already been installed at four other LB parks: Seaside Park, Admiral Kidd Park, the Drake-Chavez Park greeenbelt and Molina Park.

    The artificial turf sports field, similar to those installed at the four other LB parks to date and planned for others, will use cork and sand fill, not "crumb rubber" (the latter have drawn public pushback and prompting a 2015 Parks/Recreation Commission majority vote to recommend cork/sand fill.) A 2015 3-2 Parks/Rec Commission vote recommended more costly cork/sand fill over staff-recommended acrylic coated crumb rubber.)

    In wrapping up the Feb. 18 Council item, Councilwoman Mungo defended her record on El Dorado Park projects and the City's record on Measure A spending.

    Councilwoman Mungo: Measure A and the promises of Measure A have consistently year after year been fulfilled. The promises that this dais, this board, made were for infrastructure and public safety. And maintaining our parks and libraries are [sic] as important as our streets.

    You will hear me at community meeting after community meeting fighting for streets, streets, streets, streets, but one of the frustrating things about street repair is it's a long planning process and we can only do so many streets a year because there are only so many asphalt vendors...

    Additionally, in relation to the extensive amount of maintenance and repairs needed at El Dorado Park, both West and East, I've consistently helped form fiends groups ["friends of" groups]. I've consistently requested the groups to maintain a list of their needs, and the items on the lists that are easily identifiable and maintained and communicated to our office have been funded. We're doing a $2 million duck pond restoration and enhancement. We've replaced and funded new tables, there were 40 tables identified throughout the park that were in disrepair. I went to one of the friends group meetings and proposed where we should place them and talked about the different strategies on how we could repair other benches throughout the park, not using Measure A funds but using Council district funds for something that was on their list, and then the $100,000 in filtration pumps that were allocated tonight with this vote that will be helpful and millions of dollars throughout the city but several of them will be for park bathrooms in El Dorado Park done this summer. So that's about $6 million in investment in just El Dorado Park East and West...

    I look forward to meeting with those groups again potentially as early as this Friday but I hope my colleagues will support moving forward on these items tonight because the community as I have heard them are in huge support...

    Sponsor

    Sponsor

    Parks/Rec staff contends replacing natural grass turf with synthetic turf on soccer fields has several benefits, including providing a playing surface that addresses field safety issues and enhances playability to meet demand" and would mean less "down time" for soccer fields. (Image below prior to project changes referenced above.)


    Image source: City management Nov. 2019 agendizing memo

    Artificial turf fields have been installed at four other LB parks: Seaside Park, Admiral Kidd Park, the Drake-Chavez Park greeenbelt and Molina Park.

    Sponsor

    Sponsor

    The El Dorado Park artificial turf sports field, similar to those installed at the four other LB parks to date and planned for others, will use cork and sand fill, not "crumb rubber" (the latter have drawn public pushback and prompting a 2015 Parks/Recreation Commission majority vote to recommend cork/sand fill.) A 2015 3-2 Parks/Rec Commission vote recommended more costly cork/sand fill over staff-recommended acrylic coated crumb rubber.)

    At the November 2019 Parks/Rec Commission meeting, Parks/Rec Commissioner Thomas asked Parks/Rec staff if there'd been any pushback or negative responses to the other artificial turf fields in use now. Parks/Rec staff said response had been all positive and hadn't heard of anything negative.

    Sponsor


    Councilmembers signaled at their Feb. 18 meeting that they didn't object to the allocations. At that time, Councilwoman Mungo said she was comfortable with management's recommendations for allocating $4.3 million in Measure A FY19 "surplus" for a number of items (subject to some amendments from her committee.) Those items included the $1.5 million El Dorado Park artificial turf soccer field.

    "Measure A and the promises of Measure A have consistently year after year been fulfilled. The promises that this dais, this board, made were for infrastructure and public safety. And maintaining our parks and libraries are [sic] as important as our streets," Councilwoman Mungo said on February 18, 2020.

    In wrapping up the Feb. 18 Council item, Councilwoman Mungo defended her record on El Dorado Park projects and the City's record on Measure A spending.

    Councilwoman Mungo: Measure A and the promises of Measure A have consistently year after year been fulfilled. The promises that this dais, this board, made were for infrastructure and public safety. And maintaining our parks and libraries are [sic] as important as our streets.

    You will hear me at community meeting after community meeting fighting for streets, streets, streets, streets, but one of the frustrating things about street repair is it's a long planning process and we can only do so many streets a year because there are only so many asphalt vendors...

    Additionally, in relation to the extensive amount of maintenance and repairs needed at El Dorado Park, both West and East, I've consistently helped form fiends groups ["friends of" groups]. I've consistently requested the groups to maintain a list of their needs, and the items on the lists that are easily identifiable and maintained and communicated to our office have been funded. We're doing a $2 million duck pond restoration and enhancement. We've replaced and funded new tables, there were 40 tables identified throughout the park that were in disrepair. I went to one of the friends group meetings and proposed where we should place them and talked about the different strategies on how we could repair other benches throughout the park, not using Measure A funds but using Council district funds for something that was on their list, and then the $100,000 in filtration pumps that were allocated tonight with this vote that will be helpful and millions of dollars throughout the city but several of them will be for park bathrooms in El Dorado Park done this summer. So that's about $6 million in investment in just El Dorado Park East and West...

    I look forward to meeting with those groups again potentially as early as this Friday but I hope my colleagues will support moving forward on these items tonight because the community as I have heard them are in huge support...


    Oct. 4. 2020: Text added and clarified.
    Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.


    blog comments powered by Disqus

    Recommend LBREPORT.com to your Facebook friends:


    Follow LBReport.com with:

    Twitter

    Facebook

    RSS

    Return To Front Page

    Contact us: mail@LBReport.com



    Adoptable pet of the week:




    Copyright © 2020 LBReport.com, LLC. All rights reserved. Terms of Use/Legal policy, click here. Privacy Policy, click here