The City Council began its Nov. 17, 2020 meeting with a Public Hearing regarding fees and usage of public parks. The presentation and actions were divided into three separate discussions.
The first item covered use fees for Tidelands athletic fields, and the Cays and Sunset parks. After discussion, the Council voted unanimously to approve the following pay structures. Categories are listed in order of priority and fees are per person, per season. (‘seasons’ are January-June and July-September):
Tidelands Athletic Fields: Coronado Youth Organizations $7; Select/Travel $14; Adult Resident League $7; Public Schools $0; Non-Resident Youth Sports $20; Non-Resident Adult Sports $20; Individuals/Public $0.
Cays and Sunset Park: City of Coronado $0; Recreational $0; Coronado Youth Organizations $7; Coronado Schools $0; Youth Select/Travel $14; Adult League $7; Non-Resident $20.
The second part of the public parks discussion focused on Tidelands Park. City Manager Blair King said he was pleased to bring forward an agreement with the Port of San Diego which will allow the City of Coronado to manage scheduling at Tidelands Park. He added that, “this was the vision when Tidelands Park was originally constructed.”
The agreement is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which details maintenance and scheduling roles assigned to each entity. The City will maintain baseball infields and the concessions booth, collect and retain fees for permitting, manage concessions, and coordinate with the Port on major event scheduling. The Port will perform general maintenance including mowing, restrooms, trash, and building and hardscape upkeep.
The third part of the agenda item was a staff recommendation to amend Resolution 6803. The resolution currently allows Sunset Park to “be excluded from organized sports usage except organized Youth Soccer and Little League activities for children eight years old and younger.” The recommended modification would remove the ‘Youth Soccer and Little League’ specific reference and be reworded to include “all youth sports for children eight years old and younger.” As the changes had not been previously presented, it will be brought back for vote at a later date.
Council voted unanimously to authorize the City Manager to execute the MOU with the Port District and to bring back the amended Resolution 6803 for a future vote.
Following a detailed description of the Parker Pump Station Replacement Project, including the incorporation of most of the design changes requested by residents in the neighborhood, the Council tallied another unanimous decision giving authority to advertise the project for bid. The vote moves the project, which has been methodically moving forward since 2018, one step closer to completion. The three story pump station is located at Eighth Street and Coronado Avenue and is a stormwater and sewage station determined to be in dire need of replacement.
With a goal of increasing programs and participation for the “65 or better” age group at the John D. Spreckels Center, City staff made recommendations for new partnerships and goals for the Center. “We are expanding the programming... and proposing a change in our relationship with the Coronado Senior Center Association, after [their] three years of operating the Spreckels Center,” said King.
According to Director of Recreation and Golf, Roger Miller, City staff conducted an evaluation of the facility’s programming and operations and identified new objectives. The new vision would begin with pursuing partnerships with the Coronado Public Library and Cultural Arts and culminate in an accreditation from the National Council On Aging (NCOA) and the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC). Other changes would include reserving office space for City use and the establishment of ‘Friends of the Spreckels Center,’ a volunteer group that would support programming and events, provide wellness checks, and participate in various committees. A 5-0 vote in support of the new vision was recorded.
The Council then received an update on the Coronado Library Winn Room renovation project. The facility was built in 1973 and is one of the most used facilities in the City. In January 2020 Council approved an agreement to develop a feasibility study, design concepts, and cost estimates. Community stakeholder input was solicited in June 2020.
King announced that the project cost is estimated at $5.5-$7.5 million and admitted the price tag was significant. Mayor Bailey commented on the high cost, “On the low end we are looking at $1,800 per square foot. The cost to build a luxury home in Coronado isn’t even close to that.” He later added that, “It is definitely due to be upgraded, but I’m just not seeing $7 million worth of upgrades to accommodate 200 people.”
Councilmember Heinze also agreed with needed upgrades but was cautious about whether or not the community wanted “so much expansion and bigger facilities attracting more people.”
Councilmember Sandke acknowledged the “need for more space and an update,” but said that he was interested to see what happens after the public learns of the high dollar amount attached to the project. “I want to see what kind of feedback the community gives us on this... who rallies around the project and who says it is poor spending of tax dollars,” explained Sandke.
After reviewing the three design options, Council did not commit to following the project through to completion but agreed (in another 5-0 vote) to authorize the expenditure of $73,000 to proceed with the next schematic design phase.
In other business, the Council discussed the draft of a ‘Comment Letter’ to be sent to the Port of San Diego regarding the Revised Port Master Plan Update (PMPU). The letter lists the requests previously made by the City of Coronado that were not addressed or incorporated into the revised PMPU. Councilmembers offered edits and wordsmithing until all agreed. The letter was submitted last week but the final copy has not yet been published on the City’s website.