Village Construction UnderwayAug 24, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story by Shaunna Boyd
Construction crews prepare the terrain for Measure J improvements, which will include a new theater building and an enhanced Clubhouse, at Fair Oaks Village Park Plaza. Photo courtesy of FORPD/SENSERA Systems
FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - At the August meeting of the Measure J Bond Oversight Committee (BOC), Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District (FORPD) Administrator Mike Aho introduced the newly hired Arts and Entertainment manager, Danielle Whitmore.
The FORPD recently created the new Arts and Entertainment division, which joins the existing Recreation, Parks, and Administration divisions. Aho said the new role will manage all arts and entertainment programming for the District as well as take the keys to the new facilities currently under construction. It will be Whitmore’s job to “make it work, and keep it working,” said Aho.
Whitmore said, “I am beyond excited to be a part of the Fair Oaks District team and to be working with you all to really grow what is an amazing investment into your community and into the arts and entertainment.”
Construction fencing went up in the Village in July, and demolition is ongoing to clear the way for construction of the new Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre, improvements to Village and Plaza parks, and updates to the Community Clubhouse. Completion is expected in December 2023. This is the largest Measure J project, with a total budget of $21.7 million, which includes a $1.8 million bid allowance to cover contingencies that come up during construction.
That bid allowance is very important, said Aho, since unexpected issues always come up during a large-scale project like this. Aho cited an example at the Clubhouse: As work moved forward, a large crack was discovered in the building, from ground level to ceiling. Aho said the District plans to bring in structural engineers to assess the situation, stating, “We should solve it now, while we have the opportunity.”
The public can watch project progress by accessing photos from two solar-powered cameras documenting the work. The feed can be viewed on the District website at https://www.forpd.org/478/Live-Construction-Footage.
As construction moves forward in the Village, necessary parking closures are also underway, with several parking areas closed for the next four months: parking in front of the Village Park playground along Park Dr., parking across from Old Fair Oaks Library on Temescal St., and all parking in front of the Community Clubhouse on California Ave. “It’s going to be awhile, and it’s going to be hard on all of us,” said Aho. There will also be other parking closures in the future, but the end result will be increased parking in the Village with 20 additional parking spaces.
The District has also moved forward with plans to build softball fields at the La Vista school site. A site survey will be conducted to confirm the boundaries of what would become park land. Once those survey documents are completed, then the lease agreement between FORPD and San Juan Unified School District can be officially signed. Aho said the next steps would be budget estimation and community outreach to figure out if the project should include water fountains, a playground, additional parking, or other amenities. Even though no major structures will be built as part of the project, Aho said it will still be a lot of work to improve the fields to ensure the highest quality for the softball players.
With the softball fields now slated for La Vista, the Phoenix Park project will now just focus on improving parking, and the District is in the process of requesting proposals for that work.
The plans for La Vista and Phoenix will max out the rest of the available Measure J funds and will likely require some additional funding as well. So, Aho said the District is already looking at alternative funding sources to ensure those projects can fully move forward.
BOC Chair Amy Larsen reintroduced the question of returning to in-person meetings, but with COVID surging again and cold/flu season just around the corner, the consensus was to continue with Zoom meetings for now and reassess in the future.
The next BOC meeting is scheduled for October 4.