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American River Messenger

FORPD Approves Capital Projects, Possible New Position

May 07, 2024 11:14AM ● By Shaunna Boyd

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - At the April meeting, the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District (FORPD) Board of Directors considered the allocation of $310,000 for Capital Improvement projects for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, which will be funded by impact fees, in-lieu fees, and the district’s General Fund.

The projects under consideration were $70,000 for roof and HVAC replacement as well as interior repairs at the Old Library; $50,000 for a new district vehicle for maintenance staff; $10,000 for new tables for Village facilities; and $30,000 for a trailer with barrier fencing (so the district will no longer have to rent those for alcohol sales at events). The total also includes $150,000 for updates to the district’s master plan, which was last updated in 2010. Generally, the master plan is updated every 10 years but the district is waiting to conduct the update after the Village construction is complete.

The board voted unanimously to approve the funding for 2024-2025 Capital Projects.

Next under consideration was the allocation of some unrestricted funding that the district received through Sacramento County’s federal award of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which were designated to help local jurisdictions with revenue recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. The county allocated $130,000 to the district and staff recommended $88,500 be used for one year of salary and benefits for a full-time technical and operational supervisor position in the arts and entertainment department.

The official duties of the position still need to be determined and approved by the board but district Administrator Mike Aho suggested the position would manage all the sound and lighting as well as the operational aspects of the new Performing Arts Center currently under construction in the Village (expected to open in January 2025).

The facility will include the outdoor amphitheatre and stage, as well as an interior Black Box theater and various interior community rooms. All areas of the facility will be available for public rentals, and use of the lighting and sound equipment can be included in the rental cost. Rather than allowing facility renters to handle that equipment themselves, designating a specific employee to oversee operations will protect the district’s investment and ensure the equipment is used properly.

Aho said that one year of funding would allow time for the facility to become fully operational, at which point the facility’s goal is to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of the ongoing position. The position could potentially be advertised as limited term, because if the facility does not bring in enough revenue to justify continuing the position, then that role would be eliminated.

The board voted to approve the funding, and the official position will come back to the board for final approval in the coming months. If the position is approved at that time, then the recruitment, hiring and training would begin at the end of this year.

The board also reviewed an application for Congressman Ami Bera's Fiscal Year 2025 Congressional Directed Spending Request. The district is requesting $1.4 million for assistance in funding ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements in Village Park. The improvements have mostly been completed already as part of the Village construction project, with a focus on increasing accessibility into the park with new crosswalks and entrances. Aho said this will be a first, because there has never been appropriate ADA access into the park until now.

Staff said an application requesting reimbursement for ADA improvements would be the most likely to receive approval and the board voted unanimously to support the application.

At the last Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District meeting, a public comment expressed concern about a lack of communication with the public about construction in the Village. In a report in April, the district’s board heard what staff have done to address this issue, including a renewed effort to ensure Community Updates are posted to the district’s website each month, as well as signs placed around the Village so community members can scan QR codes and be directed to the updates.

According to the Community Update for April, rain caused some more delays to exterior work but interior work continued, with bathroom renovations in the Community Clubhouse and sanding and painting inside the Performing Arts Center. Bobo Construction worked on preventing and removing standing water so exterior work could resume as quickly as possible, to continue work on grading around the Clubhouse, as well as curb and gutter installation on the roads.

The next Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 15 at the Fair Oaks Water District, 10326 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks.