Planned to fit into an 8.3-acre triangular wedge of land next to the Onetta Harris Community Center in the city's Belle Haven neighborhood, the new complex includes a synthetic turf field encircled by a rubber track, two tennis courts, a basketball court, parking lot, lights, and restrooms.
Mayor Rich Cline said groundbreaking should start July 20. The idea of renovating Kelly Park first surfaced about seven years ago. "Field use has always been a problem," he said. "I feel like I've been talking about this forever."
He said the new design emerged through community input. The Belle Haven Homeowners Association suggested adding the track, according to the mayor.
The original park, built in 2001 for about $1 million, has an undersized basketball court and soccer field that, along with poor drainage and short fencing bordering the baseball diamond and U.S. 101, led to underuse.
Matt Oscamou, the city's senior civil engineer, said the city is in the process of signing contracts. The city awarded the $2.8 million construction contract to the Oakland-based firm O.C. Jones & Sons Inc. The city estimates the total cost of the complex at $3.4 million, less than the $4.4 million earmarked for the project: $3 million in redevelopment funds and $1.4 million from the recreation-in-lieu fund.
If construction starts on time, the project should be completed by spring.
Scheduling practices and games during the wait will be tricky. Hillview, Oak Knoll, and Kelly Park will all be closed for renovation for the next 18 to 24 months, leaving local sports leagues short on space, according to Jeanine Morgan, spokesperson for the MP Strikers Soccer Club.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel once these fields have been renovated," she said. "We are trying to work closely with private organizations and local high schools to find space for our teams that will be displaced. We hope that everyone in the community will cooperate during this time."