By Donna Lind, Mayor, City of Scotts Valley
This month I’m responding to inquiries about Scotts Valley parks and street maintenance and repairs. City Hall improvements are also in process.
In Public Works, 2022 has largely been a rebuilding year. In late 2021, the City reinstated the Maintenance Division Manager position. This position was last filled in 2006 before being frozen and eventually unfunded for 15 years. The manager position allows for more advanced planning of internal resources and strategic use of contract services to ensure the City’s parks, streets, facilities and storm drain system are properly maintained.
The Maintenance Division is still staffed at approximately 2/3 the staffing levels of the early 2000s. The City is experiencing the same challenges as all employers in both the public and private sectors in regards to hiring and retaining staff. Even so, work is getting done to bring back our parks and facilities to the standards we all expect in the community, but it will take time. Through the first half of this year, Public Works has entered into a series of contracts to ensure regular maintenance activities continue to occur regardless of staffing levels and improvement projects are in varying stages of planning, design and construction.
In spring of 2022, the City entered into an agreement with Brightview Landscaping to maintain the soccer fields at Skypark and greenbelts in the Skypark neighborhood. Over the summer, the City entered into an agreement with K&D Landscape to perform maintenance activities throughout the City. Residents have shared their appreciation of the work along the Skypark Linear Trail. K&D is also working on median islands on Scotts Valley Drive, Mount Hermon Road, the Pinewood Estates landscape assessment district, the Community Center, Senior Center, and newly planted Library parking lot landscaping.
These two maintenance agreements have provided flexibility within the Public Works team to dedicate more resources in other areas of the City like Siltanen Park. Over the 4 months of having dedicated maintenance resources at Siltanen, we’ve seen field conditions improve, tree health improve and general park conditions improve.
Staff has noticed and appreciated the positive emails, posts on social media and letters to the editor, thanking staff for their work. It’s good to see some of the other improvements in our parks including the systematic replacement of broken park drinking fountains with new fountains that include bottle filling stations. Epoxy coating of the restroom floors at Hocus Pocus Park and Skypark have been completed, with work to be completed at other park restrooms. Staff had to deal with a recent major plumbing break at Skypark that created a delay but has been corrected.
A major irrigation overhaul of Siltanen Park is in design, planned to go into construction this winter. The existing system is problematic and very maintenance intensive, averaging one break per month over the past year and a half. At Skypark, Council expects to award an agreement to replace the small children’s playground. This project began planning pre-pandemic and is primarily funded through the State’s Prop. 68 Parks and Water Bond Act of 2018.
Additional projects have been approved by City Council. A large list of projects began in July, to go along with previously funded projects underway. These projects have a longer lead time that many times include a need for design professionals and public contract bidding. The full list of projects is too long to mention here. Below is a highlight of a few projects staff are working on:
- Bean Creek Road pavement rehabilitation project is being finalized. That project will go out to bid over the winter to have a contractor ready to begin work in the spring.
- Citywide striping: In September, City Council awarded a construction contract with Chrisp Company to perform pavement striping throughout the City. Engineering staff will be coordinating work efforts to refresh striping on a number of streets throughout the City and incorporating some Active Transportation Plan projects where appropriate.
- Mount Hermon signal improvements: This project is just kicking off a review of traffic signal timing and reviewing options for some short-term improvements. The review will also provide the City with a report of possible hardware/software solutions for signal interconnectivity improvements.
- Public Works facility replacement (currently unusable): Over the winter work will begin to demolish the existing facility and clean up the site. Site preparation and the new facility will be installed in the spring/summer of 2023. This project is funded by American Rescue Plan Act funding.
- Police Department Improvements: A long-standing project to make improvements to the women’s locker room is in design. That project will also incorporate ADA access improvements to and within the public lobby.
- Council Chambers/City Hall: Audio/visual improvements within the Council chambers have been made. These improvements allowed the City Council to begin meeting in a hybrid format (both in person and online). Other projects that are just kicking off including improvements to the HVAC system and a roof replacement project. Physical work on these projects is anticipated to begin in 2023.
It’s exciting to see the many projects Public Works staff is undertaking and we look forward to the many improvements to City Parks, streets and facilities!
Donna Lind is mayor of Scotts Valley. Contact her at [email protected].