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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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12/4/2012 10:00:00 PM
Goldwater Lake Park in line for expansion
Cindy Barks
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - An upgrade at the popular Goldwater Lake Park was deemed a perfect fit this week for a portion of the money that the city has set aside exclusively for parks expansion projects.

Although future votes on the design and construction contracts are still to come, the Goldwater Lake Park expansion project appeared to have the full support of the Prescott City Council on Tuesday.

After hearing about the expansion plans from Parks and Recreation Director Joe Baynes, council members gave the go-ahead to advertise for bids for the design of the project.

After the meeting, Baynes said his department would now work to put together the request for proposals (RFP) for the design, and would begin advertising for bids in January.

If all goes as planned, the City Council would consider the design contract in February, with the construction contract going to the council in April. Construction could begin by May, and the project could be complete by August.

Baynes proposes splitting the project into two phases - at a cost of $350,000 for the first phase, and $450,000 for the second phase.

Among the planned improvements would be 113 new paved parking spaces, new ramadas, restrooms, a playground, and a water well with a 5,000-gallon storage system.

That would significantly improve the park's current amenities, which include 61 paved parking spaces and 26 gravel-surface spaces, one ramada, a sand volleyball court, a horseshoe court, boat launches, a fishing dock, restrooms and a swing set.

Baynes said Goldwater Lake - with its scenic forest setting off Senator Highway - often becomes crowded during the peak summer months.

Although 2012's numbers were down because of recent roadwork on Mount Vernon Avenue/Senator Highway and a park closure during the May Gladiator Fire, Baynes said normal summer weekends generate over-capacity crowds at Goldwater.

"We're turning people away because the park has exceeded its capacity," he said of the peak times.

Council members agreed.

"Goldwater Lake is over-utilized and under-developed," Councilman Charlie Arnold said. "The bottom line is we need to expand our parking and expand the access."

The costs would come from the city's park impact-fee fund, which currently contains $1,681,174.

The city generated the money through its $715-per-home park impact fee that new homebuilders pay to help cover the costs of the impacts of growth.

Officials have pointed out repeatedly that state law limits the use of the park impact-fee fund to growth-related expansions to existing city park facilities.

Council members stressed that point again this week, noting that the park impact-fee money cannot go toward other community needs such as fire or police services.

"This expansion is exactly why we collected this money," Councilman Chris Kuknyo said. "It's a great use of that money."

The existing park uses only a small portion of the 160 acres available in the park, Baynes said, and the expansion would distribute the user impacts over a larger area.

A conceptual map indicated that the new phases of the park would be located

southeast of the existing park.

Councilman Steve Blair said the project should include future plans for opening Lower Goldwater Lake to the public.

While the parks and recreation department has looked into that possibility, Baynes said the city would first have to deal with a number of obstacles, including the steep terrain.

The current park facilities date back to 1979, according to Baynes' presentation. The city originally bought the property in 1914 for use as a potable water supply, and the construction of the two dams occurred in 1923 and 1932.

The city charges for parking at the lake park, and Baynes said the additional revenue from the new parking spaces would cover the additional operational costs.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: sorry well needed

Such a good thing to improve a lake which is enjoyed by everyone who has payed to take family and friends lots of memories. The money collected should be used to improve all parks and Goldwater needs it the most. Thank you most of our family and friends of Prescott will enjoy it forever

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Transparency Not Deception

It was $350,000 for the Goldwater Project and now it appears that another $450,000 has been added in to the project. Why isn't the city up front with the taxpayer instead of slipping stuff in and being "Rubber Stamped" bye the "Rubber Stamp" council? When will the taxpayers get hit with the "Ball Fields, etc.?"

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