The Allan Yorke Park improvement project has taken a big step forward.
These items include installing an artificial turf ballpark in the southeastern corner of the park (known to the city as East Park, where the boat trailer parking currently sits) as well as a new boat trailer gravel parking lot and restroom facilities, creating a mountain bike trail and several walking trails.
The most expensive project by far will be the design and installation of the artificial turf, which adds up to slightly more than $2.55 million.
While the price tag is high, Mayor Neil Johnson has said in past council meetings that the city will save money through decreased maintenance costs over the years of use the field will get, as well as increase park revenue through field rental, since the ballfield will become accessible year-round.
The ballfield is expected to be installed where the current boat trailer parking lot currently lies and could affect parking, but the problem will be mitigated by creating a new gravel lot nearby.
The new parking lot in East Park — which is expected to cost around $364,000 — is planned to have 97 stalls, or enough space for 48 boat trailers and their vehicles.
The new restroom facilities are a “medium priority item,” which means not be tackled in this phase, are expected to cost around $260,000.
A loop trail in South Park (the area of the park directly west of East Park) is estimated to cost around $138,000, and an extension of the trail that would enter East Park may cost around $4,000.
The mountain bike trail that would cut through the forested area of South Park is expected to cost around $47,000.
Other East Park trails come with an estimated price tag of $17,000.
The total cost for all projects, including the East Park restrooms, is around $3.39 million.
The cost may be lessened if the city successfully applies for a Youth Athletic Facilities grant, said Special Project Manager Gary Leaf.
The grant can cover up to 50 percent of a project, up to $350,000.
“The YAF program is for outdoor athletic facilities, which includes ballfields, BMX facilities, outdoor activities,” he said at the meeting, adding that he feels confident the city will receive this grant, because “we were invited to apply, since they didn’t get enough applications last year.”
This being the case, Leaf also suggested the city should apply for one additional YAF grant that would help cover the costs of the future BMX facility in South Park.
The BMX facility – which is estimated to cost around $780,000 for site prep, restrooms and concessions, fencing, official’s box and more – would have to be added to the official Phase 1 plan and the city’s budget would have to be amended to include the costs before the city could apply for the grant.
If the city doesn’t receive the grant, then it’s expected that city’s budget would be amended again to remove the project.
If the grant is approved, council will have to decide quickly what to do with the Public Work Center’s storage yard, which currently sits where the BMX facility is to be built.