Tuesday, May 25, 2010 • City draws up plans for a new park

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, May 25, 2010, edition of the Lassen County Times.

Anyone driving by the corner of Richmond Road and Riverside Drive may not notice anything special from the landscape now, but that may change soon.

City staff presented a first draft of plans for a park at the street corner located next to the Susan River at its May 19 meeting. In the presentation, city engineer Dan Newton admitted that the plans he drew up for the park were pretty much the ‘cadillac’ version of the park, with full decorative walls designed for privacy, ornamental trees placed in key locations and at least four benches, all placed off a brand new six-foot wide sidewalk. Newton acknowledged to the council that a lack of funding and uncertainty about funding streams could change the makeup of the park’s plans, both financially and physically.

Councilmember Lino Callegari said city staff should seriously consider trying to get inmate labor as an inexpensive way of building the park. Councilmember Vern Templeton said he had seen some of the masonry work an inmate crew had recently done to the livestock auction area at the Lassen County Fairgrounds and said he would be very supportive of them being brought in as an inexpensive option.

Councilmember Doug Sayers said he wanted to make sure the park remained a walk-through park only, as there would be no space to accommodate any parking. Susanville Mayor Kurt Bonham agreed it would only be available to foot traffic.

As for potential funding options in the face of the city’s lean budget, City Administrator Rob Hill told the council there were many options the city could take advantage of, from the use of inmate labor to the help of local scouts.

“We do have a park dedication fund,” Hill said. “The fund is restricted and set aside to do these very things. If we sat around waiting for that fund to build up so we could build a pool, our grandchildren would be dead, because it would take that long. It doesn’t grow that fast. As of (May 19), there was $183,000. I will try to get every dime I can committed to this project, but if you want to get it done now, that fund is something we could consider.”

Hill said he also had plans to talk with the Kiwanis Club about the park because he said they had expressed a lot of interest in it.

Callegari added he thought the council should consider the park dedication fund as an option, but marketing the park as a way to preserve a memory with a name was another good option.

As the plan for the park was only a rough draft, it will be brought before the council again before final approval of how the park is built.