Let’s face it – the medians in Westpointe are just plain ugly.
But help is on the way.
Last week members of the Ceres City Council were in agreement that monies left over in the Redemption Fund of the Westpointe Refunding Reassessment District should be spent to spruce up the medians and park improvements in west Ceres.
In 1993 when the Westpointe planned community was built west of Morgan Road, an assessment district was formed with the issuance of $2.96 million in bonds. Residents in homes built there paid into the district for improvements. The bonds were paid off sooner than expected, leaving $714,486 in extra funds sitting. The city had the option of returning the money to those who paid into it, said City Manager Toby Wells, or put it into improvements for which the district was intended.
“I understand that trying to give it back to all the property owners would be probably almost impossible given the change of ownership and everything and I see where legally we can use the remaining surplus for maintenance issues or replacement in the assessment district,” said Councilwoman Linda Ryno.
The council was presented with five projects for which the money could be spent. She rejected the notion that the funds be spent on a planned roundabout on Morgan Road at Aristocrat. The project is already partially funded by SB 1 and CMAQ but Wells made the recommendation to fund it all the way.
“I think the residents that live there should really receive more of a benefit than spending that money on a roundabout project,” said Ryno.
She said the first item for her would be the existing median landscaping at Malik and Aristocrat.
" ... I’ve sat up here a couple of different times complaining how horrible those medians are and it seems to me that this would be the perfect time and perfect way to spend some of their money to make that very attractive."Ceres City Councilwoman Linda Ryno
“As you all know I’ve sat up here a couple of different times complaining how horrible those medians are and it seems to me that this would be the perfect time and perfect way to spend some of their money to make that very attractive,” said Ryno.
She suggested weed barrier material and drought-tolerant plants. She complained the medians are missing plants and full of weeds.
“It’s really disgusting – it really is.”
She also called for improvements to Strawberry Fields Park.
“It needs to be maintained and it needs to be updated. I think it could use more play equipment for the children in the neighborhood.”
Ryno suggested a concrete walkway around the park perimeter to encourage walking like at Sam Ryno Park, installation of barbecue pits and maintenance in the bathrooms.
Her third priority is fixing sidewalks, curbs and gutters damaged by trees.
Any leftover funds should go to the roundabouts. Local contractor George Reed Inc. was given the green light to work on two new roundabouts in Ceres at a cost of $1.6 million, including Morgan Road and Aristocrat Drive; and Central Avenue between Industrial Way and Pine Street.
West Ceres resident Paula Redfern commented that park restrooms do need attention and so do the medians.
“I personally would like to see the upgrades to the medians as a priority because they are just barren; if they’re not barren and just dirt then there’s nothing but weeds,” said Redfern.