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Posted on November 21, 2013 at 9:21 AM by City Staff
Litchfield Park Underpass Project
The final inspection “walk-thru” of the underpass project was conducted on Friday, November 8, 2013. Several minor punch list items were identified and are expected to be completed by Friday, November 22, 2013.
A ribbon cutting for the Litchfield Park Underpass project will be on Saturday, November 23, 2013, 8:00 a.m. at Wigwam Boulevard and Litchfield Road. Mayor Schoaf will emcee the event and will be joined by officials from local municipalities, Maricopa County, MAG and ADOT. We are encouraging the public to join us in this celebration to walk, run, ride their bicycles or drive their golf carts through the underpass. We have also invited students from the Litchfield Elementary School and Western Sky Middle School to decorate their bicycles for the event. Light refreshments will be served and a pictorial history of the construction process will be on display.
It is interesting to note that bicycle and foot traffic on Wigwam Boulevard crossing Litchfield Road has increased tenfold or more. Many are using the steps and the underpass for an exercise route and students on bicycles are enjoying the avoidance of the at-grade crossing of Litchfield Road.
We have received some reports of loitering within the underpass. Although not strictly prohibited by our City Code, MCSO Deputies have been requested to check the area periodically as there has already been some graffiti within the underpass. The underpass includes the wiring for a security camera system; which we hope to purchase in FY 2015 in an attempt to deter any vandalism.
Scout Park Survey Results Meeting
On Thursday, October 24, 2013, the Recreation and Public Grounds Commission held a public meeting to present the results of the Scout Park Survey, which had been mailed to all Litchfield Park residents this past March seeking input on desirable amenities at Scout Park. In addition to City representatives, 23 members of the public attended the meeting.
The response to the survey was a very good cross section of the City, as every area of the City participated in the survey. Such participation is a great indicator of the interest by the residents of the community in designing a “new” Scout Park.
Mayor Schoaf opened the meeting and explained the status of the ownership of Scout Park. Recreation and Public Grounds (RPG) Commissioner Christoph Gerz gave a Power Point presentation revealing the results of the survey and highlighted the most popular items that were requested by the survey; that being shade, parking and restroom facilities.
The residents in attendance were encouraged to fill out comment cards, which were reviewed by the RPG Commission at their November 14 meeting. The public also was encouraged to attend future meetings, if they wished to participate in the development of Scout Park.
After the meeting, the public was encouraged to look at some diagrams of Scout Park and were given the opportunity to place popular survey amenities (basketball court, ramadas, soccer field, baseball field, playground equipment) into the diagram. The amenities were cut to scale in order to demonstrate to residents how some of the items could fit into the park.
It was made very clear that nothing is set in stone and that the process of developing the park can take several years. It also was pointed out to the residents in attendance that any improvements to Scout Park will be likely done in phases and will be directly related to available funding in our budget. Additionally, it was noted that RPG is a recommending body and any final decisions will be made in public by the City Council.
Pedestrian Refuge on Litchfield Road
On October 22, 2013, we submitted an application for Transportation Alternatives FY 2015, 2016 and 2017 funding with MAG for a Pedestrian Refuge on Litchfield Road, just north of Bird Lane. The proposed project provides a sidewalk connection/link from the northern portion of historic Litchfield Park to commercial and residential areas west of Litchfield Road. The project improvements will provide for an ADA, hard-surface, traversable, pedestrian route that currently has no pedestrian provisions within the area.
The project includes: the installation of a six foot minimum width sidewalk on the east side of Litchfield Road; median refuge; pavement crosswalk lighting; solar powered flashing beacon advanced warning signage; and solar powered tract or pedestrian lighting. The estimated project cost is $527,816; design, rights-of-way and utilities in FY 2015/2016; with construction planned for 2017.
Economic Development Director
We welcomed a new addition to our staff on November 4, 2013, that being Jim Rumpeltes as Litchfield Park’s first Economic Development Director. Jim has an impressive resume, which includes over 30 years in local government management, mainly in the State of Washington, with the last 13 years in Arizona. He started his public sector career with Spokane County, Washington as Budget Director, and then became County Administrator for Clallam County, Washington. In 2001, he joined the City of Surprise as the Assistant City Manager and then City Manager from 2003-2008. The past five years he has worked as an interim executive for local governments in Arizona. He has managed business recruitment and retention throughout his career, mainly overseeing those functions on large projects.
Jim has a BA degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He started his career as a VISTA Volunteer Planner in East LA. We are very fortunate to have such a qualified individual fill this new part-time (19 hours per week) position. We have identified a phased strategic action plan to address the development of the vacant commercially zoned parcels; updating of promotional/marketing materials; identify, attract, retain and assist existing businesses; creating a strategy to maximize sales tax revenue potential development; and attract destination type businesses which fit into the Litchfield Park lifestyle.
I have asked Jim to attend the November 20, 2013 Council Meeting to introduce himself to the Mayor, Council and public and to briefly present his action plan. Beginning in December, Jim will provide a monthly written Economic Development Report to the Mayor and Council; the same as all other departments.