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City allocates funding for Main Street park in anticipation of land use decision
by Aliyah Mohammed
Apr 12, 2017 | 2958 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
City of Milpitas and residents in support of a park at 230 N. Main St., seen here, are readying themselves for the day–in the not too distant future–that the site could be handed back to the city for government use.
City of Milpitas and residents in support of a park at 230 N. Main St., seen here, are readying themselves for the day–in the not too distant future–that the site could be handed back to the city for government use.
City officials and residents alike are readying themselves for the day that an undeveloped property north of the Milpitas Public Library could be handed back to the city for use as public green space.

As far as many park proponents here are concerned, the hope is the oversight board of the city’s former redevelopment agency — largely comprised of Santa Clara County designees — will see the site at 230 N. Main St. designated as a government property, allowing the city to construct the long-planned park adjacent to the library.

The oversight board is tentatively scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. June 14 to discuss whether to designate the property for government use or to go out to bid to sell the site.

The property was put out to bid last year, with only the county offering a $3.5 million bid on the site. But the county’s Board of Supervisors then voted to withdraw its bid when faced with opposition from Milpitas residents.

The 1.6-acre parcel, purchased by the city’s redevelopment agency in 2010 for $6.8 million, was originally zoned for park use. In November, under Measure K, Milpitas voters declared with 84.5 percent of the vote that any property in the city zoned for open space or parks would require a two-thirds vote in order to change its zoning to commercial, residential or industrial development.

During the Milpitas City Council’s capital improvement plan study session on March 29, city staff recommended allocating about $1.38 million to construct Main Street Park in the 2017-18 fiscal year, out of a nearly $337 million CIP plan covering years 2017-2022.

Under the same plan, city staffers recommended defunding the International Park, which would consist of multiple parklets along Main Street, for the time being. No work beyond a feasibility study has been done for the international park project, according to Milpitas Parks and Recreation Director Renee Lorentzen.

For his part, City Manager Tom Williams said he’s stated for years that the Main Street park site should be designated for government use and handed back to the city because of initial site work and a preliminary design approved by the council. At the meeting, Williams told the council that if the oversight board were to vote in favor of the city, then creating a final design, putting it out to bid and constructing it would take around three years.

“We at the city are ready for final design and to build the park,” Williams told the Post after the meeting.

He added it was the oversight board which held up the completion of the park by choosing to put it out to bid rather than designating it for public use.

“We believe that hopefully the oversight board will listen to the residents who adopted Measure K and designate it as government property and amend their long-term plan and allow for the city to build it out as a park,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, Williams noted the city was not recommending defunding the international park to fund the Main Street park, saying the funding has been there for constructing the Main Street park.

“The reason we are recommending defunding the international park is we would like to see Main Street developed a little further along as it’s envisioned in the Midtown Specific Plan before we commit. It is a timing issue,” Williams said.

On Friday, Mike McInerney, the oversight board’s chair, told the Post that the city could “budget whatever” but that it currently could not do anything with the property.

McInerney, who claimed there was a disagreement between the city and the board about the power of the board to change the designation of the site to government use, said his reading and that of the oversight board’s attorney was the board did not have the ability to change the land-use designation of the site.

However, he said should the board decide to vote in favor of changing the designation, the decision would need to first be submitted to the California Department of Finance for approval.

McInerney said the board was considering changing the designation because of the public interest in having the site returned to the city.

Meanwhile, Milpitas resident and park advocate Steve Munzel said the decision before the oversight board was not new, but said he hopes “they come to a brand new decision based on the Milpitas residents’ support.”Find Link Here.
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