Mexico is seeking to lay the groundwork for a street entrance before an eventual driveway and 16-space parking lot project at Garfield Park. The first step in the process is getting engineering plans drawn up for the park entrance, Mexico Mayor Ayanna Shivers said Saturday at her monthly “Munch with the Mayor.”

The presentation took place next to the park at the Mexico Housing Authority’s community center on Garfield Avenue.

Mexico has budgeted $25,000 to develop engineering plans for the entrance through its Parks and Recreation Fund. A tentative entrance location is set for one of two places along Green Boulevard. One is directly across from the A.P. Green entrance, while the other is closer to the playground and park shelter.

“Nothing is etched in stone,” she said. “An entrance off of Green Boulevard is something [Parks and Recreation] has been talking about for several years.”

While the street entrance was planned in the 2019-20 budget, the driveway and parking lot could be anywhere from two to 20 years down the line depending on budget availability, Shivers said. The proposed locations could change after community input, she added.

“If it’s important to you, it’s important we get our ideas on the table before it becomes a total reality,” she said.

The entrance locations are just suggestions at this time. Since Green Boulevard is state-owned, it is up to the state to give the city a permit to construct an entrance off of the boulevard. The tentative entrance locations would require fewer engineering considerations since they would not have to contend with a graded slope or drainage ditch.

“The idea behind [the entrance] is it would give this park the same type of parking lot as some of the other parks that have more available entrances,” Shivers said.

The park only has a pedestrian entrance and minimal sidewalks. The proposed entrances would give closer access to the playground, basketball courts and park shelter.

Shivers encouraged residents with any concerns to attend a Mexico City Council meeting so they can be placed on the official record. The city budgets for projects and makes plans based on the information it has from the community.

“We [city staff and the council] do what we think is in the best interest and sometimes, we all know about perception. Somebody’s perception of a situation is sometimes different … because they can only go by what they’re thinking and what is presented to them,” Shivers said.

Community concerns from those present ranged from vehicle speed concerns along the boulevard, and features that are of greater concern to them than parking lot issues, such as adding sun shades for the playground equipment and improving land drainage.

Shivers sought to discuss potential meeting dates suggested by those present to work with Parks and Recreation Director Chad Shoemaker. Engineering work for an entrance has been budgeted, and now the community needs to figure out where to place it. The other concerns also can be addressed to Shoemaker, said Shivers.

Other budget discussion

Fairground Pool is the largest line item in the 2019-20 and Shivers gave some background on the next steps for its rehabilitation and construction. Pool upgrades are expected to cost $3.5 million, with the city already having around one-third of that available. Further funding will have to come through a bank loan and even through a use tax on online sales.

The tax will have to be approved by Mexico voters. The state already is collecting online sales tax, but for the city to be able to receive its cut of that sales tax has to approve a use tax. So, there would be no change to what residents pay in sales tax on online purchases, just a portion of it would come to the city. The estimated revenue increase is around $150,000, Shivers said.

The city also has budgeted $300,000 to fix sewer lines in the city to help reduce infiltration of groundwater from rain or snowmelts. Slip-lining of sewer lines is an ongoing project by the city.

Shivers also explained how the city is able to operate with expenses greater than revenue. This is due to one-time capital project costs and carry-over funds from projects from previous fiscal years.

cdunlap@gatehousemedia.com