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Central Park field construction raises lighting, access questions

Posted: March 6, 2013 8:21 p.m.
Updated: March 6, 2013 8:21 p.m.

A small but vocal crowd turned out Wednesday night to hear a presentation about the city of Santa Clarita’s plans to construct two new multiuse fields and additional parking spaces at Central Park.

During the meeting at Highlands Elementary School, the crowd of about 15 raised issues with the project ranging from how construction might affect the upcoming cross country season to potential negative impacts of extra park lighting on nearby homes.

Tom Reilly, a city park development administrator, said the original master plan for Central Park called for constructing a recreation center on land in the western portions of the park near the community gardens.

But due to budget constraints, the city is not able to construct the recreation center at this time, Reilly said. So the city has decided to build additional fields instead.

The design and plan for the fields was approved as part of the city’s budget in June, and the Santa Clarita City Council voted in January to approve a $151,000 contract with RJM Design Group Inc. to design the sports fields.

Besides laying down grass, the city would have to pay for the cost of irrigation, lighting, drainage and grading for the fields.

Reilly estimated the entire project would cost around $2.5 million.

Along with the fields, the city plans to construct about 170 additional parking spaces at Central Park, Reilly said.

Several attendees raised questions about how the project might impact the cross country course at the park.

“It seems like our sport is always getting pushed away,” said Elaine Bingham, head coach of the Santa Clarita Track Club. “I wanted to make sure I was here to say something about it.”

While construction of the fields is not expected to spill out onto existing park facilities, Glenn Bogna, a project development coordinator with the city, admitted there may be some impact from the construction, though the extent is unknown.

But after asking questions of the city staffers at the meeting, Bingham said most of her concerns had been addressed.

Keith Marsolek, who lives near Central Park off Alamogordo Road, asked how additional lighting for the fields might impact nearby homes.

Marsolek said there are already times where lights from the park will come through his back window.

“Some of us have to get up really early,” he said.

Bogna and Reilly assured him the city is taking every precaution to mitigate the lighting impacts in the area, including examining the use of trees special fixtures to block lights.

The city is scheduled to wrap up the design process for the fields in May and be ready to move forward with a construction bid process in June or July, Reilly said.

Reilly said it is necessary to wait for the city to approve its budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year before construction on the project can move forward.

“We’re trying not to have any downtime after the budget is approved,” Reilly said. “We want to roll immediately into construction.”




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