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City, district vote for park projects

They partner for the long-term development and use of athletic fields after complaints that space is running out.

November 01, 2008|By Natalie Yemenidjian

BURBANK — The City Council approved a new 50-year agreement with the Burbank Unified School District on Tuesday for communal use of athletic fields, establishing a partnership to jointly plan, develop and use parks in Burbank.

The new deal, approved 4 to 1, replaces a previous agreement the council had enacted in 1988.

Councilman David Gordon voted against the long-term deal because of the cost and lack of provisions for a 10-year public review on the project.

“Considering our current financial situation,” Gordon said, “I thought it was very appropriate to do the 10-year review.”

The Burbank and John Burroughs high schools’ projects, approved by the council in February 2007, have an estimated cost of more than $16 million.

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The council also voted to allocate $2 million in Youth Endowment Services funds to the Burbank High field project.

The city has contributed more than $14 million, and the Burbank Unified School District has given $4.1 million.

The impetus for a joint-use agreement between the city and the school district comes amid complaints from education officials that their athletic facilities are aging and from city staff members who said there is no more open space to further construct parks.

With the agreement, the school district and the city will allow the other to use any of its facilities, barring planned school or city events.

“We have aging athletic facilities and tracks that are being used morning, noon and night,” Supt. Gregory Bowman said. “The way we look at it is that these facilities belong to the city.”

With little vacant land available for parks in Burbank, the school facilities will need to be open to the public, said Chris Dasté, Parks, Recreation and Community Services director.

“The city is built out,” Dasté said. “By enhancing and developing these existing places makes it more efficient to the community over time.”

Funding will be spent on artificial grass fields, tracks and infield renovation and Burbank High will get state-of-the-art lighting fixtures, Bowman said.

David Starr Jordan Middle School may also receive funding to improve street parking for the school, he said.

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