Approval has been given to a $121,001 planning contract that will lead to pushing Fifth Street through from Marshall to Drylake streets in old downtown Casa Grande, improving access to Peart Park and helping with downtown traffic flow.
The project will be known as Peart Square.
Because of this work, the plan for a splash pad in the southeast corner of Peart Park is on hold. Officials are waiting to see how that would fit in with the street extension.
“This project would provide direct access to Peart Park, (to) which we currently have very little direct street access,” Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the City Council. “When we worked with the planning department to take a look at the opportunities in this area to enhance that park and connectivity to the downtown, we saw this as a key link that was missing, and especially for direct access and parking for Peart Park.
He added, “We saw this as an opportunity to look at the downtown activities that currently take place and extending that through Marshall and to this new Fifth Street if we move forward with construction.”
There are many “if” factors to be considered before approval of a construction contract, including budget. No construction time estimate was given, but a tentative timeline shows that planning should be completed by mid-July.
According to the staff report accompanying the agenda item, “Improvements will include new curb, gutter, sidewalks and on-street parking. A new privacy wall will be constructed between the roadway and the city library and police dispatch station.”
Putting the splash pad on hold does not mean that it will never be built.
Community Services Director Bill Schwind told the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, “Once that (Fifth Street) architect is on board, we will team with them to talk about if we were to utilize this site down here for a potential splash pad, that when they do their design work for curb, gutters, sidewalk, sewer and all that kind of stuff we want to make sure that we’re involved with that so we can at least plan for something to go in down there at a future day.”
He continued, “We’ll be communicating with the architects and the engineers as far as the road design goes to make sure that everything that we need will be taken care of, as far as infrastructure goes, for the future so we don’t put a bunch of stuff in the ground now, do a road, and then tear it up.”
If Fifth Street is pushed through, the road and part of its parking areas would be close to where the splash pad would be located.
A splash pad at Peart Park is already funded, Schwind said, and more are projected for the city.
“I think as far as the (park’s) master plan goes,” he continued, “there are probably three… community splash pads in the capital improvements plan. (They are) not scheduled to be funded anytime within the next two years, but there are locations throughout town that through our master plan have been kind of designated for splash pads.”