The Coast News Group

Streets, Leo Mullen priorities for capital budget

ENCINITAS — While it’s early in the process, Encinitas officials have targeted the Leucadia streetscape, Paul Ecke Central Elementary’s traffic woes, artificial turf and lighting at Leo Mullen Sports Park, and street projects in Cardiff and Leucadia as priorities for the next round of big-ticket budget projects.

The council came to some consensus on these projects during their March 25 discussion of the city’s upcoming five-year capital improvement budget, which will stretch from the 2015-16 fiscal year until 2020-21. City staff estimates the city will have $41 million over the five-year span to pay for projects.

The capital budget is not the operating budget, but looks at larger projects and how to fund them over the five-year span. The March 25 discussion was the first of several rounds of discussions that will lead to a final five-year plan being approved June 10.

The council, while not in agreement on a number of budget priorities, was able to settle in on the aforementioned projects, which includes the following direction:

• Completing the design for the construction of the entire streetscape project on Leucadia Boulevard and Coast Highway 101 between Encintas and Leucadia boulevards. Currently, contractors have only completed one-third of the project’s construction design.

• Funding street improvement projects at Santa Fe Avenue and Birmingham Drive, including completing sidewalks and improving pedestrian access.

• Explore the costs associated with roundabout projects on Birmingham Drive and Newcastle Avenue in Cardiff and find funds to complete a proposed roundabout at Leucadia Boulevard. and Hygeia Avenue in Leucadia.

• Explore the costs associated with installing artificial turf and field lights at Leo Mullen Sports Park.

• Explore options of increasing funding for facilities maintenance

• Earmark funds for the planning of the bluff stabilization project at Beacon’s Beach.

• Explore the costs of completing sidewalks on Coast Highway 101 on the southern edge of downtown

City staff is expected to return in May with a more refined list of projects that reflect the council’s priorities.