Upgrades to a soccer field at John Anson Ford Park is one of several infrastructure and improvements projects Bell Gardens residents can expect to see in the new fiscal year, which began July 1.
The capital improvements are part of the 2012-2013 city budget approved on June 25 by the Bell Gardens City Council.
While the city is facing a budget deficit for the first time in years, the improvements are being funded primarily through federal and state grants earmarked for projects that improve or maintain infrastructure, such as roads.
The funds, however, cannot be used to close the city’s budget deficit.
The second phase of the synthetic turf project for soccer field 5, with a price tag of $700,000, will be funded mainly through County Prop A Bond Funds ($500,000), with several private donations closing with the remaining balance. The Bicycle Casino, which provides 42 percent of the city’s revenues, is donating $50,000 for the project, as are the US Soccer Foundation and Athens, a recycling and trash collection company. The Metropolitan Water District is donating $45,000 and the Water Replenishment District is donating $5,000.
Phase 2 of the project will include construction of a “storm drainage system, landscape mow strips, completion of the artificial grass field, decomposed granite pavement, concrete improvements, additional landscaping, irrigation and possibly benches, bleachers and trash cans,” Bell Gardens Public Works Director John Oropeza told EGP in an email.
The city’s other infrastructure projects include resurfacing of three streets: Florence Avenue from Emil to Elselinda/Ajax; Florence Place from Sudan Street to Scout Avenue, and Foster Bridge Boulevard. Each resurfacing project costs approximately $200,000 and funding comes from several sources including Measure R.
The streets around Suva Elementary will also benefit from half a million dollars in state and federal “Safe Routes to School” program dollars, which aims to create safer streets to promote walking and bicycling to and from school.
“The Safe Routes to School Project for Suva Elementary School includes installation of new highly reflective signage, in-pavement crosswalk flashing lights, solar-powered radar speed-feedback signs, pedestrian countdown devices and enhanced yellow-painted crosswalks and markings for school and pedestrian safety,” Oropeza said.
The city also has approximately $347,000, mostly from Gas Tax Funds and Measure R, for other street improvement projects. The areas are still to be determined.
Bell Gardens has also identified $540,000 in water system projects, including the splitting of shared water meters, as needed infrastructure projects. However, a funding source has not yet been identified.
“The City has several water main improvement projects identified in the Water Master Plan. There is some funding available for water projects only in the City’s remaining water bonds fund,” Oropeza said.
In 2010, the council voted against a proposed hike in sewer rate fees. The city’s Water System projects are unrelated to the Sewer System, the sewer system infrastructure upgrades continue unfunded, according to Oropeza.
To read a recent story on the Bell Gardens budget, visit EGPNews.com