City Council Delays Plans For Bocce Ball Courts, Ice Rink At Civic Park

Council members ask city planners to look into funding and timeline issues before construction starts

Walnut Creek City Council members listen to a presented by city senior civil engineer Scott Wikstrom on the plan to build bocce ball courts and an ice rink in Civic Park
Walnut Creek City Council members listen to a presented by city senior civil engineer Scott Wikstrom on the plan to build bocce ball courts and an ice rink in Civic Park

The Walnut Creek City Council has slowed down plans to build bocce ball courts and a movable ice rink in Civic Park.

After a 45-minute study session on Tuesday afternoon, the council said they supported the project but wanted to look furthur into its funding and timing.

Technically, the council approved the design and layout of the plan. Then, they officially sent the project back to the city's Park, Recreation and Open Space Commission.

They asked the commission to talk to groups that would use the courts and ice rink to see if they'd be willing to help pay construction costs. The commission will also evaluate the project in relation to other recreation-related projects that are vying for a limited amount of funds.

The directive delays the construction for at least a year. The original timeline called for construction this summer with completion this fall.

The cost of the project is listed at $650,000 with $380,000 coming from Measure WW funds and $270,000 from in-lieu parkland funds.

The project was first discussed by the council at a May 2012 meeting. A month later, a majority of the council approved the project as part of the city’s 2012-2014 Capital Budget.

However, they said they wanted to review the project before it went out to bid.

Scott Wikstrom, city senior civil engineer, told the council that staff continues to recommend bocce ball as the warm weather use of the project because of the sport’s popularity and the lack of bocce courts in the area.

Wikstrom said bocce would be the facility's main use from late January to October. The ice rink would be installed over the bocce courts during the holiday months with the ice rink operator paying for the transition.

Wikstrom said his department would work with the Chamber of Commerce and Walnut Creek on Ice, the two organizations that have overseen the ice rink that has been in Civic Park in recent years.

A representative from Walnut Creek on Ice told the council he supports the project. He said the new facility would provide a good warm weather use for the park. He added the set-up would also save the company money in setting up and taking down the rink.

A staff report shows the ice rink and bocce courts would be between the Park Place building and the Clay Arts Studio along the Civic Drive side of the park.

City planners recommend the facilities go in this part of park because it has minimal impact on the current parking lot and is large enough to accommodate the layout of both the rink and the courts.

The ice rink would be slightly west of where the temporary ice rink has been situated in recent years.

The project would require the removal of five trees, including one that was planted in 2002 to honor a World War II soldier. Under the proposal, the tree would be removed and the soldier’s plaque would be transferred to the Veterans Memorial outside of City Hall.

One more time with feeling January 22, 2014 at 02:40 PM
"There aren't enough revenues to do everything we are doing today," said Nordhoff." http://walnutcreek.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/poll-finds-walnut-creek-residents-divided-over-how-to-fix-budget-problems - on top of this, there is no plan for which entity is responsible for maintaining the Ice Rink and the Bocce courts when maintenance is required. Walnut Creek's General Fund just got stuck with a huge amount to maintain the Contra Costa County Library downtown Walnut Creek branch because the county won't fund it and the Library Foundation can't seem to raise any money to fund it. Funding the building of these unnecessary items is one thing - long term, ongoing maintenance, funding is the really expensive part and the City should not be stuck with that. Since the City Manager has already stated we can't afford it, these items should not even be under discussion or consideration. "A representative from Walnut Creek on Ice told the council he supports the project" - REALLY? It would be news if he didn't support it... My apologies - I've been wrong all along. According to the City Manager, we do have a revenue problem (AND we have a spending problem).
Jojo Potato January 22, 2014 at 06:56 PM
David: "furthur"? Really? Nice to see the council do something right for a change, maybe they are starting to realize that the city is broke after all and guess what, we citizens are in no mood to vote for new taxes to pay for silly projects like this..


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