A plan to bring a park to the south side of town for the first time in the city's 125-year history came closer to fruition last week when the began the process of purchasing a plot of land on Los Angeles Avenue.
The council directed city staff to make a $299,000 offer on a property in foreclosure that has become available at on the corner of Los Angeles and Sherman Avenues. If the city's offer is accepted, it would eventually tear down a home on the property and turn it into a neighborhood park.
"We have been discussing the need for a park in the south part of our community for as long as I can remember honestly," said Councilman Joe Garcia during last week's council meeting. "This is a step in the right direction."
Mayor Mary Ann Lutz was dubious about the city's ability to pay for the land, however.
"Do you have as suggestion where we might find the funds to purchase this property right now?," Lutz asked Councilman Tom Adams when he suggested the purchase.
City Manager Scott Ochoa said the money would have to come out of the city's general fund reserve. Adams, a member of the , challenged the local to raise some of the money for the park after suggesting that the city acquire the property.
Because the land would need to be environmentally cleared, City Attorney Craig Steele said that the council would need to meet again and approve a purchase agreement should the seller accept the city's offer.
Councilman Garcia noted that the Sherman Avenue neighborhood where the park would go received a "Neighborhoods U.S.A." award for its participation. He suggested the council name the park after the award. A resident suggested that the park be named after , the south side advocate who has long pushed for the park.
The bank that owns the property will put it up for sale on September 15, according to Adams. No other sites have been identified as suitable for a park in the southern part of town.