Park and recreation officials have created a five-year plan prioritizing capital improvements at city parks, with playground equipment at the top, followed by restroom renovations, picnic shade structures, baseball field shade structures and seating at the Starlight Bowl.
In the city report, which was presented to the Park, Recreation and Community Services Board on Thursday, each priority lists between four and seven parks at which the renovations are needed.
For the next fiscal year, city officials will request $773,000 from various city funds to address some of the capital needs.
The bulk of that — $600,000 for new playground equipment and shade structures at Earthwalk and Verdugo parks — would come from a former redevelopment fund that can only be used for capital needs that benefit children, said department director Judie Wilke.
While money has not been funneled into that account since the dissolution of local redevelopment, $2.1 million — including the aforementioned $600,000 — remains, which officials plan to use for playground equipment and shade structures at various parks over the next few years.
Officials will also ask for $105,200 to replace roughly 90 drinking fountains, as well as to improve picnic facilities and irrigation at city parks.
“This is all just the planning stages, what we’re looking at requesting,” Wilke said, adding that the requests still need to go through the city manager and City Council.
The department receives an additional $350,000 annually for maintenance at the city’s park and recreation facilities.
“We have needs that exceed the dollars in that fund, for sure,” Wilke said.
An assessment of the city’s 41 parks and recreation facilities released last year identified $5.9 million in unfunded capital needs alone over the next five years, not including large-scale improvement projects needed at Olive and Verdugo recreation centers and the Starlight Bowl.