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Roseville residents tell city: Finish Central Park

Citywide park has been on hold due to lack of funds
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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When Nicki Minear and her family moved to Roseville's Stanford neighborhood, they expected nearby Central Park to soon be completed and ready for their recreational enjoyment.

That was nearly 10 years ago.

"I grew up by a park that was a central meeting place for people and I envisioned that for my kids, as well," Minear said.

Roseville's Central Park on Fairway Drive, adjacent to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and behind Nugget Plaza, has made progress. There's now the Mike Shellito Indoor Pool and two soccer fields.

But where are the lighted softball fields and children's play area? The picnic areas, basketball courts, central plaza and interactive water feature are also missing.

There's a simple reason for the delay: The city needs $3.5 million to complete the park and that money just isn't available, said Dominick Casey, director of Roseville Parks, Recreation and Libraries. The city has identified about $250,000 for a children's play area, which staff will likely begin planning this fall, he said.

Minear said while that's promising, she'd like the city to move quicker to finish the park, which her family only visits occasionally for soccer games and to walk the path to nearby businesses.

"It's pretty unfortunate this is Roseville's Central Park," Minear said. "It should be a gem (but) it's a field of weeds."

An employee in the nearby Nugget shopping center, who didn't want to provide her name because she wasn't given permission to comment, said her business would benefit from the completed park.

"What we care about is that the park gets done," she said. "We'd love to be able to use the park."

Because of their size, citywide parks are typically constructed in phases, and Roseville plans to continue with Central Park's second phase as funds become available.

"(This is) linked directly to citywide park planning priorities, an improving development industry and the economy, as this park is an obligation of the general fund budget," Casey said. "We need to be strategic about adding liabilities on to the general fund."

Unlike neighborhood parks designed for short durations of use, such as an hour stay, citywide or regional parks are much larger, with clusters of fields and programmed recreational events - such as softball or soccer games. They're intended for long visits and located off major roadways.

Park development relies on fees collected through residential building permits, and this money is split into two different funds.

"With the slowdown in residential construction, the funds are slow to grow," Casey said. "Simply put, the park development system is set up to allow for growth to fund growth."

Neighborhood park fees are used solely for these smaller parks, such as Erven, Pineschi or Stephenson parks, which are all located within the Highland Reserve Specific Plan area near Central Park. Sometimes, a developer will build a neighborhood park, and then turn the space over to the city for operations.

The maintenance of these smaller parks is covered by a Community Facilities District for Service fee, which is collected for street landscapes, medians and parks. These funds can only pay for these purposes as a direct benefit to residents who pay the assessment.

A separate fund is used for the construction and maintenance of citywide parks, such as Central Park. Casey said there are a number of undeveloped citywide parks competing for funds.

"We evaluate the proximity of other parks and access to recreation when prioritizing where to build and when," he said. "With the economic situation, we currently have very limited resources to spread throughout the city."

Altogether, Roseville's undeveloped citywide parks will cost an estimated $11.5 million to complete.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.