Last night’s meeting on the interim use of the Bruce-Monroe site displayed an initial proposal based on community comment from previous meetings. While not complete, it provides a good peek at what will likely come to pass later this year for the 3 acre site.
The design concept was based on a dedicated budget of $500,000 from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. There is little hope for more money in FY10, but depending upon community needs, Councilmember Graham stated that more money might be possible in the FY11 budget.
There seems to be a tight window for this project largely because demolition will be completed by the end of April and the community hopes the interim development will be in place by the beginning of summer. Considering that it is illegal for the City to hire a contractor without going through the RFP process, a plan needs to be agreed upon soon in order to meet the summer goal.
Rough sketch of proposed Bruce-Monroe site interim planning as of 3/31/10
Some expressed concern that spending $500,000 was a waste of money when a school needed to be built. It was pointed out that putting the money toward a new school would not be anywhere near enough to get a school project begun. Others inquired about a temporary playground and if that was possible. Again, it was pointed out that the goal of the site was for a 3-5 year use and it would be difficult to take a playground away from a community that had come to rely on it. As to any use of the site for education and placing trailers on the site, the budget for that would likely come from DPR and as such was not presented as part of the plan.
To understand why the sketch seems as sparse as it is one needs to keep in mind two things.
- This is a basic sketch to identify areas of use based on community input. Continued input would indicate how the green spaces could further be programmed as funds become available; and,
- The total budget is $500,000.
To help understand the budget’s limitations based on the sketch, the following cost estimates were shared:
- Tennis Court: $100,000,
- Basketball Court: $75,000,
- Black iron fence securing the site, $200,000,
- the remainder of the money would go toward compacting the soil and installing lighting.
There was a general opinion that there should be a less expensive fencing solution, and those options will be looked into. The plan as currently presented also includes a school bus loading and drop-off area on Irving street that would limit the ability of neighbors to park within the zone during hours of operation.
Lastly, the issue of educational programs and activities was also raised. Several people expressed concern about education and desired that associated programming and facilities issues around education be considered. It was noted that as things now stand, educational facilities or programming are precluded by the costs of the planned courts and the fence.