Assistant City Manager Bruce Rudd told residents at a community meeting at Burroughs Elementary School that the initial design for the park exceeded the budget. The park was going to include a splash park, a dog park, a covered tot lot, green space and parking. Now, it will be stripped to the basics, including only those amenities that community members decide are most important.
“The money is available,” Rudd said. “There just isn’t enough money to build this with a splash park and everything else.”
Despite the reduction in park amenities, the crowd erupted in cheers when they learned the park still would be built.
“What we need, unfortunately, isn’t here,” said Susana Cruz, who has lived in southeast Fresno for seven years. “It’s not a luxury thing that we want; it’s a necessity.”
Ramona Vivas agreed, saying that the park would be an essential place for the community to gather and have room to exercise. “I think that it will be very beneficial for our kids,” she said through a translator.
Fresno City Council Member Clint Olivier said the neighborhood surrounding the proposed park, at the southeast corner of Highway 180 and Chestnut Avenue, has been lacking in “safe, clean and secure places for our children to play.” He added: “It’s very important to the people who live here to see this park built.”
The city is contributing $1.2 million from a park bond toward construction. City officials said construction should start in spring of 2012 and be completed by July 2012.