City Manager Bob Sisson recently presented the proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the City of Fairfax for FY 2019-2023. It was during a joint work session of the City Council and Planning Commission, allowing both panels to weigh in on the requests made by various City entities.
Fairfax City Schools Superintendent Phyllis Pajardo called her funding recommendation for FY ’19 “a modest, needs-based CIP and a slight decrease from last year.” There’s a $25,000 paving request for funding to repair parking areas and bus loops at all four City Schools.
But this year, the school system is also collaborating with Parks and Rec, which requested the money in its own CIP, to improve parking at Providence Elementary. “There are parking issues at the school and at the park when the parking areas are full and people park on the field,” said Parks and Rec Director Cathy Salgado.
“The youth field is adjacent to the access road,” explained Assistant Schools Superintendent Diego Wilson. “We’d extend parking along that road and add more spots by the baseball diamond’s right field. It would add 25-30 more spaces.”
Salgado said that diamond “has an extensive outfield bigger than we need. So we’d use this extra space behind the diamond [for parking] and not lose any field space.”
Councilwoman Ellie Schmidt asked what material will be used for paving the field area, and Wilson said he and Salgado are looking at alternative materials, as recommended by School Board Chair Jon Buttram.
Pajardo is also asking for $20,000 for concrete repairs to the curbs and gutters at all four schools, plus $120,000 to replace the two, gym-rooftop, heating/air conditioning units at Providence. Some $15,500 would help maintain the roofs at Lanier Middle and Fairfax High. And for wellness, $20,000 is needed to replace carpet with tile in classrooms at Daniels Run Elementary and Providence.
“About 40 percent of the City’s total budget goes to education,” said Mayor David Meyer. “So this is one of our highest priorities.”
PARKS AND RECREATION
“We have 16 requests for FY ’19,” said Salgado. Included is $100,000 to renovate the large soccer field at Providence Park to eliminate flooding and improve field conditions and playability. “The Fairfax Police Youth Club [FPYC] would like to use this field more, but can’t, because of the water,” said Salgado.
Another $25,000 would renovate two ballfields at Thaiss Park. “It’s a continuing project we’re doing with the Fairfax Little League [FLL], and it’s contributing to it,” she said. In addition, $70,000 is sought to add lights to that park’s field No. 2, with the FLL chipping in $50,000 of that amount. And, said Salgado, “It’ll also help light the adjacent field, which needs more light.”
Some $80,000 would replace the fences around that park’s baseball diamonds, and $30,000 would replace the fence around the Van Dyck Park tennis courts. Also sought is $75,000 to address ADA-access issues at various City Parks. Another $30,000 is needed to replace old, damaged and unattractive park entrance and rule signs. “We have multitudes of signs and none of them match,” said Salgado. “We want them to be more uniform.”
The big-ticket item is $900,000 to replace the 11-year-old turf at Draper Drive Park. “This is a huge project,” said Salgado. “But the FPYC will contribute $20,000 per field, per year.”
She also included $100,000 as a placeholder to continue the study for a potential community center to replace Green Acres. This same amount is also sought to replace the playground equipment at Cobbdale Park and add equipment at Shiloh Street Park.
Councilman Jon Stehle praised the partnerships that will help pay for some of these projects. “The more students see the investment we’re making in the City parks, the more the next generation will see that this is the thing to do,” he said.
Councilman Michael DeMarco asked if an analysis had been done, comparing the costs of synthetic vs. natural turf. “Synthetic turf is expensive, but you get more playing time,” replied Salgado. “Five minutes after a thunderstorm, it drains, and you can use it. Natural fields are cheaper, but synthetic ones require less mowing and fertilizing and less resting time before you can play on it again. And when someone falls on a turf field, you don’t have hard spots.”
Pleased with what he heard, Planning Commission Chairman Paul Cunningham said the City’s support of the Parks and Rec Master Plan, a few years ago, is now bearing fruit. “We now have a more robust Parks and Rec program,” he told Salgado. “Thank you for bringing us good projects to look at.”
This is part one of the two-part story on this topic. Part two is dealing with the proposed CIP projects of the Public Works, Fire and Police departments.