Government / Politics

Verutti Park and Franklin Circle projects move forward

San Juan Bautista budgets $476,000 total; construction is expected to begin in December.
Franklin Circle in San Juan Bautista. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Franklin Circle in San Juan Bautista. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Design of Franklin Circle Park in San Juan Bautista. Image courtesy of Rochelle Eagen.
Design of Franklin Circle Park in San Juan Bautista. Image courtesy of Rochelle Eagen.

Two separate San Juan Bautista park projects are moving forward as the City Council unanimously awarded contracts Nov. 16. Joe’s Landscaping and Concrete was chosen for a $190,000 project to construct the Franklin Circle park and Monterey Peninsula Engineering was awarded a $242,000 contract to construct bathrooms at Verutti Park.

The proposed park at Franklin Circle, which is yet to be named, is located on a raised median at the end of the street on about 83,400 square foot area. The design includes a bocce ball court, a hopscotch court, a barbecue grill, picnic tables and landscaping. 

According to the agenda, the city received eight bids for the project by the Oct. 13 deadline. Construction is expected to start in December and be completed by April 2022. The City Council also approved a $19,000 contingency fund for the project. 

David Rubcic, with CSG Consultants and acting city engineer, said that the timeline of the project depended on weather conditions and the availability of the contractor to start the project.

To pay for the park, San Juan Bautista will use $100,000 from its Proposition 68 grant, $30,201 from the public facility impact fee fund, $62,000 from the park in lieu fee fund, and $16,500 from the park development fees fund. 

“We’re fortunate we don’t have to use the general fund to build this park,” City Manager Don Reynolds said. 

The bathrooms at Verutti Park, located at San Jose and Second streets, have been a long time coming for residents, following delays over design and funding; the city first took on the project in 2019. Former city manager Michelle LaForge had budgeted $50,000 for the restrooms and former interim city manager Ed Tewes later increased it to $150,000.

Now, the city has budgeted $267,240, which includes a $25,000 contingency. It will be funded by a Proposition 68 grant ($77,000), the parking and restroom fund ($125,000) and the public facility impact fee ($65,240). 

The restroom building is prefabricated and will be placed where portable restrooms are currently located. The building will have “S” tile roof and white stucco finish, ADA-compliant men’s and women’s restrooms and a mechanical room. 

Rubcic said the restrooms are designed to withstand abuse because the plumbing is within the mechanical room, which separates the men’s and women’s restrooms.

“There shouldn’t be anything that will be easily damaged and should survive the abuse sometimes these types of facilities receive,” Rubcic said. 

Resident Cara Vonk voiced concern over using a prefabricated building, as the Planning Commission approved design specifications. Reynolds said the building would be based on what the commission approved. 

“We have the right to reject a bathroom that doesn’t meet the same standards that were already reviewed by the Planning Commission,” Reynolds said. “We did take that history into consideration, we did put it in the request for proposals.”

According to the agenda packet, the five-month project is expected to be completed by May 2022. 

 

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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.