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August 19, 2009 > Measure WW gives Union City options to reinvest in parks

Measure WW gives Union City options to reinvest in parks

By Meenu Gupta

The need for open space for recreation and local, recreation projects continues to grow. Measure WW, the East Bay Regional Park District's bond measure approved by voters in November 2009, provides funds in Alameda and Contra Costa counties for acquisition and development of local parklands.

$125M will be dedicated to help meet park and recreation needs of cities and recreation districts. Union City has been allocated $3.35M of Measure WW bond money based on population estimates.

The Park & Recreation Commission held a work session on August 12 to discuss the options to utilize the grant, though no decisions were made.

Staff considered taking an opinion poll via the City's website to ascertain how people feel the money should be spent on parks and recreation. However, no specific plans were outlined.

According to grant guidelines, the City has three choices. Some, or all, of the money could be allocated to acquire property and trails for walking, jogging, running and hiking. Second, renovate and install photo-voltaic panels on many of the city's buildings. Third, develop a new dog park on the west side of the city.

Commissioners toyed with an innovative idea of taking the money saved in annual electrical bills and using it toward funding maintenance facilities or a new facility. New recreational facilities, preferably aquatic, were also considered.

"One of the favorite ideas is to have a potential addition of lap-swim facilities and therapeutic facilities to the sports center on Union City Boulevard. We lack a pool and we don't have a therapeutic facility," said Director of Leisure Services, Tony Acosta.

A strong interest in trail and path improvements was also expressed. Other suggestions include renovation of parks and restrooms in some of the older parks like Charles F. Kennedy Park and Old Alvarado Park.

"There are no specific plans for the Measure WW allocation yet," Acosta clarified. "The City Council has us working on one concept for aquatic add-ons to the Sports Center but no decisions have been made about any project. I would expect the Council to consider specific alternatives sometime this Fall, in time for the project-application period of February-March 2010."

The date of the meeting is not yet scheduled but is expected to be in September.

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