State grant to help pay for improvements to Wellfield Park and Ramona Community Center

The Wellfield Park children’s playground could reopen in the near future now that grant funds are available to pay for its repair or replacement.

The playground was closed last fall after a National Playground Safety Program inspection determined there was broken and damaged equipment. The playground project would cost about $30,000, said Tim Clement, administrative services manager for the Ramona Municipal Water District.

Based on a recommendation from the Ramona Parks and Recreation Association, the playground could get a share of nearly $200,000 in grant funds available through the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Office of Grants and Local Services. California and nearly $50,000 in matching funds provided by the owner of Wellfield Park. , the district of waters. The grant application was accepted in February, according to water district officials.

Other projects in line for funding are the renovation of the parking lot at the Ramona Community Center, the upgrading of two restroom buildings in the park and the improvement of the audiovisual equipment used for meetings of the district board of directors. some water.

Dawn Perfect, executive director of the nonprofit Ramona Parks and Recreation Association which oversees the park and operates the Ramona Senior Center on behalf of the water district, said she’s glad additional upgrades are planned. for the park.

Late last month, the County Board of Supervisors approved $900,000 in funding for lighting for two sports fields and a scoreboard for the girls’ softball field at Wellfield Park.

“We’re just grateful to see the park improvements that are happening,” Perfect said. “I will be happy and grateful when the improvements are made.”

On May 10, the Water District Board of Directors voted unanimously to award two contracts for specific projects – a $75,125 contract to DAD Asphalt, Inc. for the community center parking lot and a $89,950 contract to JC Built for park washrooms.

The water district expects to be reimbursed for contract amounts when these projects are completed, according to a report from water district staff.

Clement said the timeline to complete the projects is about two years, but the district expects to complete them in a few months.

Jim Hickle, chairman of the board, told the meeting he was excited about the plans, particularly the ability to restore the playground and improve the parking lot. Hickle said he’s heard complaints about the parking lot and its potential for tripping hazards, but upgrading it will make it more usable for older people. He added that the playground will need to be repaired or replaced to meet county standards.

“This is great news for the community and great fundraising news for the water district,” Hickle said.

The funds for the improvements are being made available because California voters approved Proposition 68 Parks Environment and Water Bond in June 2018, according to a report from water district staff. Funds can be used for national and local parks, environmental protection, water infrastructure and flood protection projects. Currently, $185 million is available to local municipalities for the rehabilitation, improvement and creation of parks.

The restrictions limit the use of the funds to capital expenditures such as land acquisition or improvements to existing properties, but not for the operation, maintenance or repair of parks and related infrastructure, the report says. Staff. The state contributes 20% of the funds for projects that do not serve a “severely disadvantaged community” and the Ramona Water District contributes 25% of the funds.

Perfect said she met with Water District staff and pointed out that Ramona Adult Softball’s restroom was in particular need of repair. She said the parking lot was redone about a year ago but it didn’t hold up well and the asphalt is deteriorating.

“We knew we had a parking issue, but it was the Water District’s idea to include it in this recommendation,” Perfect said. “I believe the playground will remain a playground. The baseball league has had some ideas for this, but there is a lot of community support to make it a playground for young children.

“Baseball’s main goal is to provide a high-quality baseball program, so they didn’t really have a way to solve the field of play problem.”