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Supervisors provide additional funding for Village View Park

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

On May 26, the County of San Diego’s Department of Purchasing and Contracting advertised a construction contract for Village View Park. The bids exceeded the expected amount as well as the project’s budget, so the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved additional appropriations for Village View Park July 19.

A 4-0 vote, with one vacant seat, approved an additional $3,486,566 of funding for Village View Park to bring the total budgeted amount to $13,695,566 including construction, a limited contingency, inspections, cultural and environmental monitoring, and project management. The supervisors’ action also found that the environmental Mitigated Negative Declaration the board certified in October 2021 did not require any updates.

“It’s moving ahead, and we’re thrilled about that,” said Fallbrook Planning Group chair Eileen Delaney.

“I’m glad that the park is now considered fully funded,” said Stephani Baxter, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Public Facilities Committee of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group.

“This is exciting for Fallbrook,” Baxter said. “The people of Fallbrook are so ready for this park.”

In March 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of 6.8 acres of land on the south side of Fallbrook Street between Morro Road and Golden Road for use as a local park. Input from three virtual public meetings that year was used to develop a conceptual plan. The planned amenities include play areas, a picnic area, a multi-purpose field, an open field, a skateboarding facility and an off-leash dog park. The restrooms will be shaded to reduce energy use and mitigate heat effects. The 68 planned parking spaces include three stalls meeting Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and parking for five bicycles is also planned. More than 100 new trees will be planted, and gardens with native plants will provide local habitat for wildlife. The park will also have multi-use trails.

In October 2021, the county supervisors voted 5-0 to authorize the director of the county's Department of Purchasing and Contracting to take the necessary actions to advertise the project for bid and award a contract, to designate the director of the county's Department of Parks and Recreation as the county official responsible for administering the construction contract, and to adopt the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program. At the time, the estimated cost was $2,397,000 for construction with another $360,000 for design and environmental review expenses, and $145,000 for project administration, permitting, inspections and monitoring. The acquisition cost for the Village View Park land was $1,172,000.

Although the advertisement for bid was authorized, the county’s parks department continued to refine the design of the park in collaboration with the community while the construction documentation process was being completed. The request for bids was not issued until May 26.

Higher construction costs led to a low responsible bid of $10,775,070, which was higher than expected and exceeded the project’s budget. When construction contracts are awarded, the budget includes a contingency which allows change orders without the need to increase the budget. County staff initially increased the total construction cost including contingency to $13,234,566 but reduced the contingency to provide a total cost of $11,344,566 including a limited contingency.

Park Land Development Ordinance fees are collected from developers to fund park improvements in the area of the development. Developers have the option to dedicate parks instead of paying PLDO fees, and a combination of park dedication and PLDO fees is also potentially acceptable. A 2018 revision to the PLDO separated park land acquisition fees, which can only be used for the acquisition of land, from park improvement impact fees which must be used to develop new park facilities or rehabilitate existing facilities. If in lieu fees are paid, that funding can be used either for land acquisition or for facility development or rehabilitation. A December 2022 Board of Supervisors action appropriated $1,000,000 of Fallbrook area PLDO balance for Village View Park, and the July 19 action adds another $625,664 from the Fallbrook area PLDO impact fund and $28,323 from the Fallbrook area PLDO in lieu fund.

The additional PLDO funding depletes the Fallbrook area account. “That will grow back. It will just take time,” Baxter said.

The other $3,832,579 of additional funding was transferred from the budget of the San Luis Rey River Park. Constraints will prevent those projects from proceeding in the near future regardless of funding availability. The constraints which must be resolved before construction on the San Luis Rey River Park projects can proceed include land acquisition, ongoing environmental review and completion of prerequisite projects. Once those constraints have been resolved, funding for the San Luis Rey River Park will be restored during a future Board of Supervisors budget process.

The postponement of the Twin Oaks Local Park expansion and improvement project previously allowed for $2,285,000 budgeted for that project to be transferred to the Village View Park budget. Village View Park is in a census tract in which 81% of residents are considered low-income or moderate-income, so the park is eligible for Community Development Block Grant funding and $2,122,000 of CDBG money will be used. The Urban Greening Program is administered by the California Natural Resources Agency and supports infrastructure projects which reduce emissions and provide other benefits, and the county has received a $1,000,000 Urban Greening Grant for Village View Park. A separate $1,200,000 Statewide Park Program grant was also awarded; that program funds projects which provide park and recreation opportunities in critically underserved areas. The county's 2019-20 budget included $582,000 for the construction of a skate park in Fallbrook and later that year the supervisors accepted a $20,000 donation from Fallbrook Skatepark, Inc., for a future skate park; that $602,000 will be applied to Village View Park.

Village View Park is now expected to open in December 2024.


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