Yesterday a Field Enhancement Proposal was submitted to the Commission about Turf at Wildcat/Middle.
I read over the proposal yesterday afternoon before the meeting in detail and again I have reviewed it this morning.
My perspective: Last year, I agreed to a bond for recreation needs in our community. The bond provided support and funding towards the pool project, golf course and Robb Hollow. The bond also included language to not use any of the bond money for the use of turf. I supported the bond and made the extra effort to ensure the pool stay within a budget that was discussed in length by the Commissioners.
The Commission even increased the budget a little to ensure that all project costs were included such as engineering, contingency etc. The bids came in much higher than anticipated and I found that even though I inquired a couple of times that the initial budget of $3.3m include all project costs (engineering etc) they were not assumed in the budget.
So the pool project literally utilized all funding from the 2012 bond and didn’t include a contingency for any unanticipated occurrences.
We went into litigation over the bids and had to rebid. The bids came in approx $200,000 lower than the initial bid. David Donnellan, Recreation Director proposed that the funding ($200,000) go towards the contingency of the pool project.
As all of this has been debated, in the past year the Municipality approached the State regarding a park project that includes a large portion of Robb Hollow to be invested and rehabilitated from the under-utilized mess it is today along the Cedar Blvd corridor and above where Mt Lebanon collects and grinds leaves. The investment proposed includes a financial responsibility on behalf of Mt Lebanon.
Since we used up all the bond funds for the pool and have almost $680,000 left in unassigned funds from 2012, I would find it reasonable and responsible to “tag” the unassigned funding to Robb Hollow. Even though $680,000 isn’t all the money allocated through the bond, it would ensure a financial start towards the project and support the good faith efforts the Municipality has had with the State.
This particular turf proposal suggests that we not only use the money from the 2012 unassigned funds, but also utilize the funding set aside from a Brafferton project in the 2011 unassigned funds that was rejected by the Commission.
I would be in support of using the monies assigned to the Brafferton project towards a fundraising effort for this type of turf project but I will not be supportive of using all the 2012 unassigned funds towards a turf project when we have discussed to the State to potentially fund a project of essentially unusable community space into a public park for all resident use.
Again, I am supportive of Eco-friendly turf and no additional lighting at Wildcat/Middle if we can work on parking concerns for the residents. However monies from the Brafferton project ($137,400) more than help begin a fundraising effort for the public/private partnership required to complete this project, in my opinion, especially with all of the engineering studies done to support this proposal.