The City Council on Tuesday unanimously from construction firms for a project that will revamp the and other park facilities. Community members who attended the council meeting expressed opposition to what they perceived as an overly ambitious project that will negatively impact the park.
The city has budgeted $14.7 million for the project, but the lowest bid submitted by W.E. O'Neil Construction Inc. totaled more than $16.8 million, prompting City Manager Jeff Kolin and staff members to recommend rejection. Two other firms also bid for the contract.
Plans for the project to modernize park facilities include "a multipurpose room that can function as a gym, community meeting rooms, a small satellite library, a kitchen for the senior nutrition program, exercise room, staff offices and other spaces for the community," Associate Project Manager Donielle Kahikina said in a presentation to council members. "Exterior improvements include upgrades to the maintenance building and yard, expanded parking lot, drainage improvements, a fire lane for fire-truck access to the park and some landscaping."
Council members agreed to reconsider the project through public feedback meetings led by the Recreation and Parks Liaison Committee, which includes Vice Mayor and Councilman Julian Gold. A community meeting likely will take place in January, Mayor Barry Brucker said.
"We'll get this right—something that is safe and clean, and of Beverly Hills quality," Brien said. "I can tell you right now, the existing facility is none of those three."
Beverly Hills resident Herb Young was one of several community members who spoke in opposition to the project.
"You've heard other speakers here say 'It's too big, it costs too much money, we don't want it,' " Young told the council. "Now we're going to have another community meeting. I'm glad to hear that you're doing it, but it sounds like it's somewhat redundant. We've gone through this before."
Young also said that council members .
"You have an agenda that you want what you want built regardless of what we, the people, are telling you," he said.
Brucker said that "it's important that we look at this with fresh eyes."
"Let's look at this as an opportunity to revisit, to scale back, to certainly meet the budget, of course, and also to listen and digest, and build a complementary product that the community can be proud of," the mayor said.
The existing Roxbury Park facilities were built in the 1950s "with periodic remodeling over the years—the last time in the 1980s," according to a statement released by the city.