The Washington Parks Department trimmed its capital project list — somewhat — at the latest sales tax committee meeting.
The city’s capital improvement sales tax expires in 2018 and the new committee has been tasked with selecting projects that could be funded if it is renewed. The tax is estimated to generate $12.6 million.
After the committee’s first meeting, the group asked the parks department to refine its list because of its high price tag. The original list contained multiple projects with a price tag of $12.7 million.
Other departments had made initial requests for projects totaling $12.2 million.
The parks and recreation department will make a more formal presentation at the committee’s Nov. 28 meeting. Before that, Parks and Recreation Director Darren Dunkle presented a list of 12 projects classified as needs for the department.
The top of the list, both literally and in terms of need, is a new administration/maintenance building. Dunkle said the department’s current maintenance facility is from the 1970s and too small.
Several expensive pieces of equipment, like bucket trucks, can’t be stored inside. The area also was built for a smaller department and doesn’t have much room for repairs.
Dunkle said ideally he’d like to see a new facility that would be both the parks headquarters and a workshop/storage facility. The current parks offices would then be converted into an indoor storage facility.
The estimated cost for the facility is $1.8 million.
Also on the parks wants list is a new pool facility. Dunkle said the pool is aging and a replacement is needed soon. The cost presented last week was a guesstimated $5 million.
After the revision, the price tag jumped to $7.5 million — but with a catch. City Administrator Darren Lamb said when reviewing the list with Dunkle, the two talked about combining the pool and the city auditorium.
Lamb said the auditorium also needs some upgrades including a new roof and air conditioning. Because the current pool is so close to the auditorium, he said there’s a possibility the facilities could be combined in some way.
“We’re just trying to think outside the box,” Lamb said.
Other parks wants include $200,000 for pavilion projects, $750,000 for playground improvements and $775,000 to build a new park at the riverfront. The park gravel area near the eastern Rotary Riverfront trail would be paved over. The area would then have a lookout spot, amphitheater and other amenities.
The total cost for the needs list was an estimated $11,540,000.
Dunkle also provided a wants list with projects totaling $450,000. The projects include resurfacing the Hillermann tennis courts, a second phase of the skate park and improvements to the Lions Lake playground.
A third list contained projects just for the fairgrounds. A multipurpose building, fencing and mainstage roof would cost an estimated $2,895,000.
Finally, Dunkle said the American Legion had requested artificial turf for the baseball field at Ronsick. That project could cost an estimated $370,000.
The committee took no action on any of the projects. The parks department will continue to refine the numbers and present them more in depth at the Nov. 28 meeting.