Rio Vista Looks to Upgrade Parks

Anthony Gutierrez
Staff Writer
March 2, 2016

River News-Herald

At a Rio Vista city council meeting, there was a lot of support for the long-awaited construction of a skate park, as well as replacing the Egbert Field baseball lights and improving Val De Flores Park, among other renovations of recreational structures.

A number of areas that were on the radar to see a park makeover included: Homecoming Park, Egbert Field, Crescent Park, City Park, Bruna Vista Park, Drouin Park, New Park in the Del Rio Hills, areas at Rio Vista High School and Riverview Middle School, a motocross/sports facility and Sierra Park, among others. (note: these places aren’t guaranteed for improvements but are strongly suggested by a report)

David Melilli, public works director, reported on data that had been collected for a year and gave an analysis of the breakdown of how much money each park will need, new changes for each respective park and other observations. Mellili suggested that city council could take the decision of adding a budget to these prices for next year or make a project.

“The key item here is that we only have limited funding,” he said. He brought up Fund 51 that had an estimated $2 million in proceeds. He suggested some of its cash could be used to make fixtures to selected parks. The total amount of money to fix all the parks listed will be worth more than $4 million.

David Hampton, city council member, asked about the Egbert lights. There were some safety issues regarding the replacement of its light bulbs, according to Melilli. A risk was going too high by crane just to fix light bulbs and it was recommended this would have to change.

Constance Boulware, council member, pushed for a plan about prioritizing these possible parks. She said ideally it would be best to improve all the parks that were listed. She mentioned priorities are in order on which park should come first.

A member of the public stepped up to the podium. She was a member of the park and recreation commission in Rio Vista, a mother of 3 and an AYSO coach.

She wanted city council to focus on two items. One of them was the replacement of the Egbert light poles and its light bulbs. She reasoned that the lights “were old, that the lights weren’t energy efficient, unreliable and a waste of the city’s money.” She also suggested that there were some people willing to donate to cover the replacement fee. A replacement fee for the light poles will cost $400,000.

The second item she’d like city council to focus on included improvements for Val De Flores Park. The purpose of the park had been for soccer but due to turf conditions, playability was difficult, according to her. Currently the park was being used for dogs to run without a leash and there were occasional soccer games in the mornings. She would like the park to be multi-purposeful for soccer players, dog people and a skate park.

She said the current skate park located next to the police station was not safe to play on. “I feel we owe it to our youth to have a safe place to play a sport they truly love.”

Ryan Murphy, a teenager, came up to the podium and had something to say, “The skate park we have now is absolutely terrible. It’s a safety hazard. There are nails poking out of everything. And the concrete is cracked and this makes the experience terrible.”

For an alternative to the Rio Vista Skate Park, a mother said, “I take my children to Fairfield. I take them to Sacramento. We go out to Lodi and San Francisco. The kids really, really need this.” She noted how important it would be to them to be able to skate before they go to college.

Police Sergeant Lisa McDowell spoke about the skate park and she said she’s been working on the skate park project since 2012. Her organization raised over $20,000 in funds. Some people were willing to fund $50,000 to the construction of the skate park under certain conditions. The only problem was the lack of location at where the skate park should be built.

It was suggested by a member of the public that the skate park should be built at Val De Flores Park, but another member of the public came up to the podium and talked about problems with that location. She raised doubts on the availability of space at that location. She was agreeable to the fixtures of the park, but it being multi-purposeful for dogs, soccer and a skate park will give limited space.

Constance Boulware, council member, addressed the location of the skate park and suggested that there should be priority over where the best location should be. Mayor Norman Richardson asked her if she would like to make any suggestions. Boulware laughed and said to give her some time to think about it.

Vice Mayor James McCracken suggested that the city council members should take a day to visit all the parks and get a personal observation on current conditions of the parks and evaluate any improvements where they see fit. Most of the members agreed to do this.

There was an agreement at the end of the discussion that the location of the skate park will come back as an agenda item at a future council meeting.

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