Development of the Greens Park on the South will move forward despite higher-than-expected costs. The Parks Committee gave the go-ahead at its meeting this month to rebid the project after Rancho Murieta Association representatives outlined a plan to reduce costs and provide additional funding. The committee also discussed the trails system, parks funding, and lighting playing courts at Riverview Park.
RMA acts to offset rising Greens Park cost
RMA General Manager Greg Vorster told the committee bids for the three-acre Greens Park came back at $460,000, “way over the $336,000 that we had estimated it would cost.”
Vorster said the project went back to the RMA board with a recommendation to have RMA act as general contractor, and grading and underground drainage work would be done in-house to reduce costs. RMA obtained single bids for concrete, asphalt and landscape work to serve as budget numbers “so we know what we’re looking at,” and those costs came in at $404,000, Vorster said. He estimated the actual cost would be about $380,000.
The RMA board is in favor of using RMA workers and an additional $68,000 from funds the RMA has set aside for its parks contribution to develop the park, Vorster said.
Thousands in parks funds were spent on design and construction plans for the South park before the project was shelved in 2008 due to a funding shortfall. At that time, estimates to develop the park ranged from $550,000 to $700,000.
The three-acre park site, in the center of 21 acres of wetlands at the southeast corner of the community, is accessed off Jigger Court.
The Parks Committee approved the $336,000 plan to develop the park in June. Funding consisted of $69,456 in parks fees RMA collected from the North developer for the Retreats project, a matching contribution of $19,815 from RMA, and most of the existing parks balance of $84,000. The largest portion, $164,935, came from RMA in the form of advance funding for its future parks obligations in exchange for a credit against future obligations.
Development representative John Sullivan made a motion to proceed with bidding the $380,000 project using $173,857 in parks funds, and the committee approved it.
Vorster said bidding would take place within 30 days. Depending on the result, the grading permit will be applied for, which is expected to be a four-month process, he said.
Trail map update
After consulting exhibits showing proposed, existing and conceptual trail maps and back-and-forth about how the community’s trails should be constructed and where they should go, the Parks Committee discussed forming a subcommittee.
“Let’s kind of agree on what a condition of approval will look like so we are all in agreement on what’s going to be there down the road,” development representative John Sullivan said.
RMA General Manager Greg Vorster said, “The natural surfaces are great, but we don’t want them in lieu of what’s shown on Exhibit E being the hard surface that connects from one side of the project to the next.”
Sullivan said connectivity was the goal. “The original concept was that from anywhere inside the gate you could get to every park and you could get to around all the lakes,” he said.
By requiring trails to be developed and deeded to RMA “the thought was that you would have an owner of that one continuous path…,” Vorster added.
Morrison Graf, the alternate Community Services District representative, brought up the unauthorized trail system, built by community volunteers, and Vorster said these unofficial trails are not the RMA’s responsibility.
Tim Maybee said some RMA directors who are concerned about maintenance want paved surfaces since the trails will be deeded to RMA and maintained by RMA, according to the Park Development Agreements.
Vorster said he wasn’t sure that development is required for a trail to be put in, and Sullivan blurted, “Why don’t you stretch it even further? Why don’t you just tell me to open up my checkbook and give it all to you? Because that’s not my responsibility.”
Trails are one of the topics considered at the stakeholder meetings conducted in recent months by the county. The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the CSD Building. The public can attend and observe, but not participate.
RMA steps up to light Riverview courts
Rancho Murieta Association parks representatives requested amending the parks matrix to add lighting for tennis/pickleball and hard courts at Riverview Park. After developer representative John Sullivan objected to the $35,000 cost, the committee agreed to add the lights as an unfunded project. RMA representative Tim Maybee said donations are expected to offset the cost.