City of Lindsay takes on a ‘lot’ of repairs
The parking lot at the Lindsay Veterans Memorial Building now belongs to the City of Lindsay.
At its Nov. 13 meeting, the Lindsay City Council voted 4-0, with Mayor Ed Murray being absent, to accept the transfer of the parking lot from the Lindsay-Strathmore Memorial District. City Planner Bill Zigler said the Memorial District has a limited budget with which to improve or even maintain the parking lot and, as a result, routine maintenance has been continually pushed back and the driveways and parking lot have fallen into disrepair.
“It’s pretty beat up,” Zigler told the Council. “Roots are lifting the pavement and there is poor drainage so water is pooling.”
Zigler said the poor condition of the site limits the District’s ability to rent out the site, which further drains the District’s already limited revenues. Zigler said the District approached the City about finding ways to help repair the parking lot, which might generate enough revenue to properly maintain the District’s facilities in Lindsay and Strathmore. Zigler said it would be advantageous for the City to repair the parking lot but the District always permitted public use of the parking lot, which has provided access to the golf course clubhouse, the golf course and the south end of City Park. Zigler said the parking lot would also provide additional “linkages” between the Wellness Center and other public sites. Similarly, Zigler said the District would continue to use the parking lot for their events and activities going forward under the following clause, “Upon transfer of the Parking Lot, the City grants the District a non-exclusive, revocable license to continue to use the Parking Lot for the purpose of!parking during events held on the District’s Property.”
Zigler said, “The city desires to repair and improve this parking lot in the future, but must own it to do so. The District’s ability to repair and maintain the parking lot will likely diminish with the passage of time under current conditions.”
Lindsay resident and columnist Trudy Wischemann asked that the item be removed from the Consent Calendar for discussion as well as for a question she had. Councilmember Ramona Padilla motioned to remove the item but the request for questions was denied. After the meeting, Wischemann said she was going to ask why the property needed to be transferred in order to repair the parking lot. She said she didn’t understand why the City couldn’t give the Memorial District the money to make the improvements itself, citing the example of the Lindsay Hospital District, a special tax district, using funds to support the Wellness Center, a City-owned facility.
In a later interview, City Services Director Mike Camarena said it was necessary to transfer the property so the City could pursue grant funding to make the improvements. He explained there are more funding sources available to municipal governments than there are special tax districts even with the increases special tax districts are expecting with the dissolution of local redevelopment agencies.
“The pool of grant money available to Cities is much larger than it is for these Districts,” Camarena said. “This was the easiest way to ensure the work was done without costing additional local taxpayer money.”