By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council voted 4-1 to approve design concepts and phasing for a project to improve Mack Park and also voted to make changes to the city’s capitol improvement budget to include the new project at their regular meeting Monday.
But some on the council say they want to start on another long-awaited city project before work begins on Mack Park.
Council member Richard Layton reminded the council that plans to build a skate park in the city were approved more than a year ago and said he would like to see focus return to that project first.
“It needs to start at the same time or before,” Layton said.
Council member Jerry Brittsan, who voted ‘no’ on the park improvement plans, also wondered what happened to the skate park project and disapproved of the large amount of money being set aside for Mack Park.
“I’m concerned with the fact that we had $160,000 set aside for Mack Park, then we adjusted it to $282,000 and all of sudden now we’re up to $990,000 and there’s still no skate park,” Brittsan said. “The skate park that was scheduled to be on fourth street was about $600,000 and I don’t know why that hasn’t been done.”
“No regard has been given to the Little League for their initial offer for the city to purchase the lighting and the Little League would provide the labor and equipment for the landscaping as well as the maintenance,” Brittsan continued. “And as a matter of fact, the $990,000 doesn’t include the lighting for the ball park.”
The plan approved by the council Monday would have the park project completed in three phases. The first would include the installation of landscaping, concrete sidewalks, new chain link fencing, a new retaining wall, picnic tables, a Tee Ball backstop and, as recommended by the planning commission, a playground complete with play equipment, shade covers and a rubberized surface. City Manager Laura Fischer has also recommended upgrading the sidewalks to concrete rather than decomposed granite, which would bring the total cost for the first phase to $744,457.
Phase II would include planting additional trees and shrubs, installing extra picnic tables and additional walkway lighting fixtures at a cost of $151,673.
Phase three would include the installation of Musco Sports Field Lighting systems at a cost of $290,220, bringing the total project costs to $1,186,351.07.
The council also voted 4-1, with Brittsan dissenting, to modify their 2011/12 capitol improvement budget to fund Phase I and Phase II of the project.

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