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The City of Lindsay awards bid to renovate the golf course into a soccer park to Clean Cut Landscape Inc.

The City of Lindsay awards bid to renovate the golf course into a soccer park to Clean Cut Landscape Inc.

@TheSunGazette

LINDSAY – Things are moving right along for the City of Lindsay as they attempt to usher in a brand new soccer park replacing the long standing golf course.

As of Tuesday, May 8, the Lindsay City Council decided to award the base bid to Clean Cut Landscape Inc. for $256,700. Clean Cut’s bid is far less than the $330,000 granted to the City through the Housing-Related Parks Program (HRPP). According to city services director Mike Camarena, all billing of the project needs to be wrapped up by the end of June or the City will be at risk of losing the grant. 

Allocating the HRPP grant dollars to the development of a new soccer park was contentious at first as the council was divided on a symbolic 3-2 vote. 

“I like having a golf course there. It’s an asset but it’s underutilized…for me this is a heavy decision…I’ve been protective of it for awhile,” said mayor Pam Kimball, one of the two no votes along with councilmember Steve Velasquez.

“I’m not for this project. I don’t think we should do this to the golf course, but that doesn’t mean I’m against soccer,” Velasquez said. “I’m for a recreation district that will generate the funds we can use to provide the facilities we can use in the future.”

Initially the money was meant to benefit the Olive Bowl/Kaku Park for youth baseball and softball. While the $330,000 would have provided some minor improvements like handicapped bathrooms and a graded field, city manager Bill Zigler noted in March that the money would not have made much of a difference for the longevity of the field.

With soccer growing in popularity in the United States, and in particular Lindsay, vice mayor Danny Salinas, councilwoman Laura Soria-Cortez and councilman Brian Watson felt it prudent to reallocate the grant. 

“I’ve seen the golf course get used less and less and I think what most people talk about is memories, but memories are not going to get us where we need to go,” councilmember Laura Soria-Cortes said before voting yes with Salinas and Watson.

Despite the feeling of Kimball and Velasquez, the cost of maintaining the municipal golf course was a true weight on City finances. According to city manager Bill Zigler the golf course costs the City roughly $44,000 to maintain as is and is not a cost they can continue to bear. If the land becomes a sports park the City will take over mowing the grass instead of contracting it out. Zigler said the cost would likely be just south of $20,000. And converting the golf course into a soccer sports park will save the City on personnel costs.

Members of the public in favor of the sports park emphasized the number of kids playing soccer in the community. Salviana Andrade mentioned the fact that students from Lindsay High School’s soccer program have gone on to get scholarships for soccer.

“You have all these wonderful kids and I want to have field for them…and you guys have seen how many of our kids have gotten scholarships…they are making a difference,” Andrade said.

In all renovations will create one mini soccer field for young players 8 years old and younger, three practice fields and two full sized fields. 

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