With the passage of the $100 million city infrastructure bond act, the city and its citizens must now turn their attention to how best to program the funds. At the very top of the list should be the rebuilding of the South Berkeley community pool on the grounds of Willard Middle School. The city closed the pool seven years ago, mothballed for a better time in the future.
Two Berkeley officials put forward a new proposal Tuesday night for a combined bond and tax measure that could go before voters in November.
Berkeley officials voted Tuesday night on ballot language related to a November 2014 soda tax proposal, but exactly what sort of fundraising request might come before voters to help the city’s parks remains to be determined.
After two failures to secure a pools bond measure, advocates for the reopening of Willard Pool turned out in force at Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting. Pool supporters called for including Willard in a likely parks bond measure on the November ballot.
The Berkeley City Council is set to consider a potential $20 million parks bond in conjunction with a 10% increase to the existing parks tax after a unanimous vote Wednesday night by the city’s parks commission.
As part of a new planning effort starting next week, Berkeley’s Parks and Waterfront Commission wants to hear from the public about ways to improve city parks, pools, community centers, camps and the marina. In recent years, the city has struggled to find enough money to pay for its parks, pools and recreation facilities. Several council members have been spreading the word this month about the upcoming meetings, but otherwise there has been little publicity. In addition to a series of three meetings with commission members, Councilman Laurie Capitelli’s office, along with city staff, will meet with the public about John Hinkel Park and possible plans for Measure WW funds. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see past related coverage on Berkeleyside.
Sadly, Measures O & N failed to obtain the required 2/3 vote.
Angel Jaramillo, a 4th grader at John Muir Elementary School, has never swum at Berkeley’s Willard pool. His family sometimes take him to the Richmond Plunge. But, he said, he hopes that by the time he’s in 7th grade he will be able to swim at Willard — and he’ll be bringing his snorkeling mask.
Three months before the November election, City Councilman Laurie Capitelli has amassed the largest campaign war chest in Berkeley, with $13,015 in donations from a variety of people, including his fellow realtors and politicians.
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