Monday, April 12, 2021

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Williams applies for two Prop 68 grants 

The Williams City Council authorized two grant applications last week to seek Proposition 68 funding to overhaul parks on the east and west side of the city.

“These two are the two competitive grants,” City Administrator Frank Kennedy said. “There is a third grant we are applying for, a per capita grant, which we are basically guaranteed to get.” 

City Engineer Trin Campos and Kennedy have put together renderings of what Venice Park and Valley Vista Park might look like if the city received more than $3 million from the state. 

The funding comes from a $4 billion natural resources bond, the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act, which voters approved in 2018. 

While the city has invested previously in a new soccer field at Venice Park, city officials believe the park, which is located behind the Sacramento Valley Museum, has the best shot at being awarded funding because of its proximity to low-income housing. About $1.3 billion of Proposition 68 were set aside from the bond to enhance recreational opportunities for low-income, minority, and disabled residents by creating or rehabilitating parks in disadvantaged areas.

“Because of that, it will score extremely high on the competitive grants,” Kennedy said. “That is why (Venice Park) is included.”

The city has asked the state for $1.6 million for new play equipment, shade structures, a small splash pad, new restrooms, picnic and gaming tables, outdoor classrooms, sport courts, and other amenities at Venice Park. 

“We know that soccer is king in Williams, and the addition of all-weather football and soccer equipment will be great for the kids who want to play soccer all year round,” Kennedy said. 

The city has also asked the state for $1.9 million for improvements at Valley Vista Park, located in the newer housing division on the east side of town, for a dog park, six sport courts, shade structures, benches, a butterfly garden, volleyball, cornhole and horseshoe pits, basketball courts, a bike and walking trail with exercise equipment, and a $376,000 splash pad. 

Each jurisdiction was eligible to apply for up to $8.5 million. Still, Kennedy felt the state would be more favorable to less ambitious project, because only $385 million remains in the last round of funding for projects statewide. 

“It’s a pretty big ask,” Kennedy said. “But we think we have some very competitive grant applications out there.” 

Like the Colusa City Council, the Williams City Council did not discuss drought or the impact of splash pads on groundwater. According to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, 95 percent of California was experiencing moderate to extreme drought as of March 22, and the snowpack is 59 percent of normal. 

However, like Colusa, splash pads were among the most requested park amenities in community outreach, Kennedy said. 

“Valley Vista Park is included because it is our largest park and does need some serious renovations,” Kennedy said. “Nothing has happened in that park basically since its inception in 2003 or 2004.” 

Williams also plans to submit an application for the per capita program to renovate the Old Gym, which is also located at the Sacramento Valley Museum. 

Improvements include a new basketball court floor, ADA restrooms, and a new kitchen to make the city-owned facility more viable as a rental for private and community events. 

Mayor Roberto Mendoza said that with repairs to the Old Gym, he hopes also that people who come out to events will take greater notice of the Sacramento Valley Museum. 

“Maybe while they are there, they might want to visit the museum,” Mendoza said. “This helps everybody.” 

The per capita grant is $177,000.

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