The matter of coming up with a new name for Eastgate Park will wait until after the election, the Ceres City Council decided on Monday.
The council held off on forming an ad hoc committee until after the city election to elect a new mayor and two councilmembers.
The city has been planning for the new eastside park for over a decade using the name Eastgate Park but recently Councilman Channce Condit requested that the park be named for the late Councilman Guillermo Ochoa. Earlier this month the council determined that it would not automatically opt Ochoa’s name but follow the protocol established in 2005 in naming the park. That policy involves the formation of an ad hoc committee and fielding suggestions of names from the community.
The city awarded the contract to begin work on Eastgate and Lions parks in mid-April but Condit didn’t bring up the idea of memorializing Ochoa until Sept. 14. The prospect of picking a different name affected the construction contract since the concrete sign for the park has been completed and was nearing delivery. City Manager Tom Westbrook told the council that the city has the option of adding a metal sign to the face of the finished concrete sign at a cost of $600 to $1,100; or making a new concrete sign for $3,500. The contractor for park construction said it could remove the sign prep work as part of the contract for a $6,500 credit.
The council agreed with Mayor Chris Vierra’s suggestion that the contractor continue with pouring the concrete foundation for the sign, which weighs thousands of pounds.
Councilman Mike Kline suggested that since the ad hoc committee would involve at least two councilmembers and with a new council coming onboard that it would be best to hold off on taking action. Vice Mayor Linda Ryno and Councilman Channce Condit agreed.
Construction on the park is supposed to wrap up this week.
City Engineer Daniel Padilla said the contractor will “not be too happy about installing that foundation (since) we’ve been telling them to hold off.” Vierra replied, “I guess you’ll have a tough discussion with them then.” Ryno wondered why the foundation wasn’t installed since the council said on Oct. 14 it was okay with having the work done while holding off on the sign. Apparently confused, Padilla said he understood he was to hold off.
Ochoa died unexpectedly at his Eastgate home in 2015 at age 54. He was appointed to the Ceres City Council in 2005 and served until 2011 when he was defeated by Mike Kline.