This is what happens when a good idea goes bad because city officials don’t think it out.
The Freedom Swing was installed, for the second time, at a cost of more than $31,000 more than a year ago. It has not been available for use by the general public because this city was unable to come up with an instructional sign which would allow people to properly use this swing.
In the interim the swing was kept behind a locked gate which the children of this community figured out how to circumvent. (Bend the Latch)
Notice the tilt of the swing because the chain on the bottom left has been broken by people jumping up and down.
You can see where someone has tried to fix it with a piece of wire rendering this device unsafe for the general public.
The opposite side has been stretch almost to the breaking point
This is a proposed park that will use precious Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to construct. These monies have been handed out with the following intent :
“The program allocates annual grants to larger cities and counties to develop viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and opportunities to expand economic opportunities,principally for low- and moderate-income persons. To achieve these goals, program-funded projects must satisfy one of three U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) national program objectives required in 24 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 570.208: provide a benefit to low- and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums or blight, or meet other urgent community development needs due to disasters or other emergencies.”
This project, Malaga Park or Gateway Park, first came to light in December of 2013 when the city set aside $100,000 of CDBG money to fund the proposed project which will consist of landscape architecture, planting,irrigation and aesthetic improvements and the installation of walkways, paths and monument sign.
Because this project meets none of the above, except maybe providing refuge for those leaving a neighboring facility (not the doctors office) it proves once again that a Federal Program is being abused by local officials. These abuses have resulted in now 2 administrations trying to eliminate it (CDBG).
Barack Obama’s FY 2012 Budget to Congress stated:
While flexibility may be one strong characteristic of the CDBG program, the use of funds and how states and communities distribute their funds lead to resources spread across many activities, diverse constituencies, and geographies without clear or focused impact. This makes the demonstration of outcomes difficult to measure and evaluate.
President Trump’s upcoming budget proposal calls for slashing funding for a block grant program primarily because it was difficult to determine whether it was getting the desired results. “The federal government has spent over $150 billion on this block grant since its inception in 1974, but the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results,”
Also, ostensibly to better the lives of low-income residents, the city proposed to “pave and repair sidewalks along Wildomar Rd. and Secdo Blvd. at a cost of $91,867 for FY 2015-16.
The city set aside another $75,533 to purchase a property to be used as a community garden in FY 2016-17
Lastly, and the only project designed to really help a depressed area, the city set aside for FY 2017-18 $110,067 in funding for a Fire Hydrant project that will decrease the risk of loss due to a fire and increase the fire protection system currently in place in the target area, primarily the Sedco area of Wildomar. (After a local eating establishment had perished in a fire)
It has been said “The CDBG is a $3 billion program that ostensibly goes to developing poor communities but mostly goes to Graft, Corruption and Waste. It blows massive amounts of money on wasteful projects, while seeing huge chunks disappear into administrative costs.
The Heritage Foundation, called the Community Development Block Grant program a “slush fund for urban mayors.”
The CDBG program is chock full of cronyism and corruption and should be eliminated. Much like the corrupt city redevelopment agencies, what actually ends up happening is that this money gets funneled by politicians to friends with connections for various projects that aren’t really about helping the poor at all. http://reason.com/blog/2017/03/16/the-community-development-block-grant-pr
Santa’s Dough has disappeared like Santa up the chimney right along with the Measure Z Annual Report.
It appears that the Measure Z Oversight Committee’s reviewing of the the funds collected during the Breakfast with Santa starting in 2013 has come to an end, this along with preparing the Measure Z Annual Report.
During the February 2016 Oversight Committees meeting Agenda Item #2.2 Special Events several events will no longer be funded with funds from the Measure Z Parcel Tax, amongst them is Breakfast with Santa (a co-event with the Rotary Club)
Wildomar Night at Storm Stadium (a co-event with the Chamber of Commerce) and Drive-in-Movie (a co-event with Wildomar Little League). These events will now be funded through the Wildomar General Fund. Good luck keeping track of that money.
This still leaves the question of what happened to the original $4.000 budgeted for the 2016-17 as shown in the 1st Quarter Report.
In the Mid-Year Report this $4,000 has disappeared from the Revenue Summary: Breakfast with Santa (a category that no longer exist) and has been switch to the Revenue Summary: Special Event Revenue which had no budget listed.
Finally, the Measure Z Annual Report is usually reviewed, approved and forwarded to the City Council during the January February meeting. This year the last mention of this report was during September 8, 2016 meeting item #2.2 Annual Report Writing Process wherein “It was the consensus of the Committee to prepare the Annual Report from the Committee to the City Council.”
Mother Nature, on Christmas Eve, did what the city has failed to do. She has started dismantling one of the dead trees found in its smallest park.
A number of these dead trees were highlighted in a previous blog.
This picture taken on Christmas Day after being notified the tree was missing a portion of its top.
The fallen debris
Picture of the same tree, the middle tree, taken in June of 2016 about the time the Measure Z Oversight Advisory Committee was doing it’s annual assessment, wherein not a single member made mention of the condition of the trees. All of the Fremont Cottonwood Trees, except one in what is referred to as the Creek Garden, appear to be suffering from some sort of malady
Why is this playground apparatus chained up like a White Elephant
The gate approaching the swing. Note that it is between dawn and dusk, therefore the park is open
Chained so it will not swing. During normal park hours.
Close-up of the lock
The above pictures were taken on July 22, 2016
On April 21, 2016 a city official commented “This swing opened up in my city last Saturday, it was a Girl Scout Silver Award project”.
(April 21st was a Thursday making the re-opening of this swing April 16th)
The first time this project was done, incorrectly, it was a scout project.
Despite what city officials claim, it was removed on a Sunday morning in October of 2014 after it failed an inspection by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) hired by the city when deficiencies were reported to the city’s insurance carrier.
The removal of this apparatus occurred a mere 22 days after installation as the ribbon cutting ceremony happened on September 27, 2014.
The gist of the report was that the Wheelchair Swing did not meet safety standards
This time it cost the citizens of this community $34,000 from Developer Impact Fee Fund Account 460. The contractor was paid $31,573.80 which was listed in the City Council Agenda Packet of June 8, 2016 Item #1.6 of the consent calendar as the Marna O’Brien Park ADA Swing Re-Installation Project (CIP 036)
(The $2,426.20 above the $31,573.80 paid the contractor was attributed to construction management and inspection bringing the total to $34,000.00)
When the bids were accepted the city engineers estimate was $25,000.00
Inspection did not include another Certified Playground Safety Inspection as a copy of such an inspection was requested on June 8, 2016, acknowledged by the city clerk on June 9, 2016 with a reply promised no late than June 20, 2016. (I am still waiting for the report and its almost August)
Pictures taken on numerous days and times since show the swing locked to its frame and the gate on the surrounding enclosure padlocked as well. All photos were taken during normal business hours of parks operations.
Starting on May 22 at 8:30 am
Again on July 11th at 8:42 am
The same goes for July 14, 20, 22, etc.
This swing appears to be shackled unless a city official is on hand for a photo op.
More questions need to be asked such as:
1. Why does an adult need another adult to supervise them on this swing. (Assuming they can
access this device)
The apparatus according to the Bid Packet (and the Manufacturer) is list as an “Adult Wheelchair Swing” able to accommodate Juvenile, Adult and Motorized Wheelchairs.
Not only is this apparatus chained up every day making it inaccessible but it also continues the reliance on another person to enjoy it.
2. When the original installation of the Freedom Swing was completed with
volunteer labor in its previous location, in the existing Tot-Lot, the ADA ramp
that allows children in wheelchairs and with other disabilities to utilize the
equipment was removed, replaced by a concrete slab. With the Freedom
Swing now located in another location why was the ADA compliant ramp not
returned to the Tot-Lot. As it sits right now children with disabilities can not
access the Playground Equipment in the Tot-Lot which meets ADA requirements.
When the ramp was there
When it was removed
What it looks like today
Maybe its time for city officials to quit patting themselves on the back for a job not so well done.
It is also time for the citizens of this community to start caring about where the precious few dollars are spent.
The city of wildomar (this means staff as the citizens haven’t been asked their opinion) has expressed an interest in utilizing a future retention basin as a city park. This area had one such basin/park in the 1990’s located in the Canyon Crest tract of homes at the intersection of Great Falls Road and View Crest Drive. When Ortega Trails Park District ceased to exist the right to access was relinquished back to Riverside County Flood Control. Never to be thought about again.
This is the former Canyon View Park which had a slab for basketball a few table and a walking trail around the perimeter along the top. All paid for by residents of the former Ortega Trails Park District.
Tomorrow on Tuesday November 17, 2015 at the Riverside County Board of Supervisor’s meeting there will be a vote on Item 11-2. This vote will be to spend $3,320,000 (that’s 3 1/3 million dollars) to purchase just under 20 acres of land for a potential retention basin.
The real issue here is the location of this future basin places it directly across the street from the future Walmart making this location ripe for unwanted development. Namely the “Wildomart Homeless Encampment”
This property is directly across from the future Super Walmart.
The city of wildomar has expressed an interest to the County of Riverside to possibly use the basin site as a joint flood control/park. One only has to look at the current state of Regency Heritage Park in Wildomar, an Open Channel in the Lakeland Village Master Drainage Plan, to see where this will end up. The above photos of Regency were taken months apart