Plans to build a $16-million project on the same parcel, which would have included an 8,000-square-foot multi-purpose recreation center and a community day school for the Burbank Unified School District, were scraped in April because of escalating construction costs and low school enrollment figures, Teaford said. The school district will move its day school, which has had its temporary home at the Ovrom Park site, to the community day school to the Miller Elementary School property, Teaford said.
Building the park reflects the City Council's goals of promoting green space in the city and creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment, Mayor Todd Campbell said.
"Clearly the South San Fernando area needs some open space and certainly this will provide that portion of town with badly needed access to recreation and some park activities," Campbell said. "This will give a lot more access to recreation for a semi-dense area that is, in my view, very underserved."
But some community members wonder why the city is forging ahead with a new park while the existing Wildwood Canyon park, located near the Starlight Bowl, is in need of repairs after accumulated fire and water damage. "If we can't repair some of our existing parks, should we really be opening a new one?" Burbank resident David Piroli said. The council awarded a design contract for the new park to the architectural firm Charles Walton Associates, with a completed design slated for March 2007. The city will put the project out for construction bids between June and August 2007 and plans to begin construction in September 2007. The park will be ready for public use in October 2008.
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