Staff supports city-operated Alga Norte Park

Staff supports city-operated Alga Norte Park
Construction of the Alga Norte Community Park has been underway since summer 2012 and will be completed about the end of this year. The park will include a skate park (seen in front), a swimming complex, playground, ball fields, basketball courts, and a dog park. Photo courtesy of the City of Carlsbad

CARLSBAD — The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission is recommending that the city operate and maintain the soon-to-be-completed Alga Norte Community Park after three companies proposed operating the park’s amenities at higher costs. 

“We (the city) have a very good business model on our own, and we’re very comfortable moving forward with our model,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Hazeltine.

Located on 32 acres off of Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road, Alga Norte Park will include a swimming complex, skate park, ball fields, dog park, playground and basketball courts. The park is expected to be completed and open at the end of this year, according to the city.

The city requested proposals for potential partners to operate the park’s facilities in the hopes of reducing the park’s cost for the city. Officials asked for applicants that could also provide park services that would be accessible to the public and at a reasonable cost for patrons.

Carlsbad received bids from the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad, Sportsplex USA, and Waterworks Aquatics, LLC.

Sportsplex USA estimated that it would earn about $165,000 from operating the athletic fields and sports park by the fifth year of operation.

Waterworks Aquatics, LLC, estimated earning about $108,000 by year five from operating the park’s swimming complex and skate park.

A five-year forecast was not provided for the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad because the company’s proposal was deemed financially unviable, said Hazeltine.

Yet the city’s estimates showed that it could operate the entire park at close to a full cost recovery from revenues earned from renting out the park’s facilities, private lessons, hosting aquatic events and selling concessions. The city estimates that by the second year, operating the park would cost about $12,000 annually, meaning that about 99 percent of costs would be covered by revenues.

The Parks and Recreation Department believes that the benefits of the park will outweigh these yearly costs, said Hazeltine.

He said that Carlsbad residents have been requesting more athletic fields, especially a skate park, for years.

Furthermore, he said there is a demand for a swimming complex to host major competitions and provide practice pools for local teams.

“We’re really excited,” Hazeltine said. “It’s been a huge project for us.”

At it’s April 15 meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously agreed to recommend that the city operate the park.

The matter will come before City Council at its April 30 meeting.

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  1. Dona says:

    Of course our city should operate this and EVERY park in Carlsbad! They do a wonderful job and demonstrate civic pride in our high profile town. City council would be wise to dismiss the idea of outsourcing the maintenance of our parks. It is unsound and promises a dangerous precedent. Carlsbad needs to remain a pristine destination for locals and tourists alike. Outsourced companies that ‘mow and blow’ will only be at our parks briefly compared to a full time staff and will not be as invested in the beauty and the SAFETY of our residents.

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