The San Diego County Board of Supervisors authorized the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation to submit grant applications for six projects, including the Fallbrook Community Center.
The supervisors’ 5-0 vote Feb. 24 authorizes a Statewide Park Program grant application of $5,000,000 to expand the existing auditorium at the community center into a full gymnasium and to replace on-site grass with artificial turf. The grant request amounts for all six projects total $25 million.
In the November 2006 election the state’s voters passed Proposition 84, which was titled the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006, but also authorized $500 million for park and nature education facilities. The Statewide Park Program and Nature Education Facilities Program grants are awarded on a competitive basis but do not require matching funds.
The Statewide Park Program will award $368 million for the creation of new parks and new recreation opportunities in proximity to the state’s most critically underserved communities. Five of the county’s six applications were submitted for Statewide Park Program funding while an application to fund the Santa Ysabel Nature Center seeks $5 million of Nature Education Facilities Program funding.
The replacement of all current natural grass surfaces at the park outside the Fallbrook Community Center with artificial turf would save an estimated 1 million gallons of water annually; the estimated $10,000 annual savings is based on current water rates. Although the additional costs to operate and maintain a full gymnasium are estimated at $70,000 annually, additional program revenue is expected to cover that increased cost. The gym operations would utilize existing full-time and additional seasonal staff, and no additional full-time staff positions are expected to be needed.
County Supervisor Bill Horn warned that obtaining the grant money requires not only a decision to award the grant to the County of San Diego but also the state’s ability to issue bonds, although he was supportive of the county seeking state expenditures already authorized. “We look forward to getting the money,” Horn said.
If the grant funding is awarded, county staff will return to the supervisors to approve the appropriation of the funds and to authorize a construction contract.
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