City officials expected the project would be funded by the state again last year, allowing the project to go forward at $1.2 million, but a budgeting snafu allotted some $150,000 for trees in Calexico instead of the $250,000 anticipated for Nosotros.
The council Tuesday directed agency staff to look into possible ways to use agency funds to pick up the remainder of the project not funded by the state.
At the same time, the council asked project designer Javier Diaz of Coup/Smith/Diaz Architects of Calexico to see whether any of the tree funding received last year can be utilized to bring a water line out to Nosotros Park.
Said Calexico City Councilman John Renison on Tuesday: "If there's anything important we do this year, it's that we do this right. We need to complete this thing in a timely manner."
After a recent $10 million bond issuance by the RDA for projects in the city, there is the money to pay for the rest of Nosotros. However, Renison said the council is apprehensive to fund the remainder of the project in the event it jeopardizes the city getting future state funding.
He added the council isn't certain it would get reimbursed for the work by the state.
Renison said Tuesday the state will see the agency's funding of the project in terms of "where there's money there's no need."
To cut costs on the first phase of the project, the city eliminated landscaping at the park to the tune of $262,576; sports lighting at $59,000; and other work totaling more than $150,000.
Landscaping costs at one point had included bringing water lines into the project area in addition to seeding for the grass and planting of trees. Water service to the project has since been removed.
Diaz said Tuesday, "What you have now is a large open graded space."
Responded City Councilman Victor Carrillo: "My concern is the park is not going to be functional. It's just going to be a big vacant lot."
"I agree. That's what you're going to have," Diaz said.
Diaz told the council he will continue to contact state officials to see if a portion of the $150,000 in tree funding can be used to bring in water lines. He added water lines would be support services so the trees wouldn't die.
Bringing a water line to the park site may only cost $10,000 to $15,000.
DEZ Construction of El Cajon has already graded and leveled the park site and concrete subcontractors are setting up forms and are nearly ready to pour.
City staff said further construction on the park could be stalled for two weeks while staff works on the funding issues.
Some items are in place at the park. Diaz said there is some lighting, tables and benches and a playground area for children.
The council has said it would like to see the park built within six months.
A special RDA meeting will likely be scheduled in the coming weeks to address this issue.
Staff Writer Richard Montenegro can be reached at 337-3453.