Brentwood officials split on options to fund park project
Funding for the $8 million Brentwood Park upgrades has become an issue dividing borough officials and those working on the project.
As time draws closer to begin phases one and two of the project, borough council and Brentwood Park Initiative members lay out ideas for funding options. Some would like the project paid for as each phase is completed, which likely will take years.
“I agree with doing things slowly,” Mayor Kenneth Lockhart said.
Others would like to see the stadium, track, turf field, bleachers and press box completed all at once instead of in two separate phases.
“Let's get it all done at once,” Councilman Pasquale “Pat” Carnevale said. “Looking at a half project doesn't look good.”
Brentwood borough council is requesting a special meeting with J.T. Sauer & Associates, the firm creating the master plans for the park renovation, to finalize details for phases one and two. The meeting most likely will take place on Oct. 16 before or during the borough council agenda meeting, said George Zboyovsky, borough manager.
Meanwhile, members of the Brentwood Park Initiative, a nonprofit organization created in 2008 to raise funding for the renovation, are meeting with J.T. Sauer & Associates representatives to work out some dimensional issues with the baseball field and dek-hockey court, Zboyovsky said.
“We need to present to them what we want,” Councilman Charlie Johnson said.
But funding for phases one and two of the park upgrades is somewhat dependent upon two other major borough projects — constructing a new municipal building and a public works facility, Zboyovsky said.
Phases one and two of the park project costs a total of $2.1 million, according to the Brentwood Park Initiative, which works with the borough to raise money, pursue grants and shape the master renovation plans.
Phase one of the park project, which costs $900,000, is completely funded through personal contributions obtained by the BPI, grants and the borough. Taxes have not been increased to pay for the renovations, Zboyovsky said.
Officials would not even be considering completing phase two if the borough hadn't received a matching $400,000 grant through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources last year, Zboyovsky said. To complete phase two, which costs $1.2 million, the BPI and borough will need an additional $500,000.
“We wouldn't even be having this discussion without the DCNR grant,” he said.
Borough council has discussed for the last several months options to obtain the remaining $500,000 for phase two. The lead option is for the borough to pursue a general obligation bond to construct the municipal building and public works facility, with the remaining money going toward phase two, Zboyovsky said.
Zboyovsky said he thinks paying for the park renovation phase by phase will help residents feel a sense of accomplishment. Getting the whole community involved also could result in residents taking better care of the park once it's completed.
“It's all about establishing a sense of ownership with the community,” Zboyovsky said.
As for those who think taking the project phase by phase is a bad idea, Zboyovsky said the same negativity was present when the BPI started.
“They said, ‘We'll never see the stadium completed,'” Zboyovsky said. “All this started five years ago ... the BPI raised $250,000 without putting a shovel in the ground first.”
For more information on the Brentwood Park Initiative, go to http://www.brentwoodparkinitiative.com/.
Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.