Frederick will hold off on funding a plan to renovate and develop its parks and recreational facilities, as it faces the budgetary fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city’s 73 parks, two pools and a municipal golf course take up about 800 acres, and provide a variety of recreational activities for residents and visitors.
The creation of a comprehensive plan would guide the development and redevelopment of the city’s facilities and help prioritize the needs.
“This is going to give us a working road map, if you will,” Bob Smith, deputy director of Parks and Recreation, told the mayor and aldermen Thursday night.
But the project’s $241,000 price tag caused some concern as the city faces a drop in revenues from the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the aldermen voted unanimously to table the proposal and look at it again in six months.
“It seems like a lot of money just in the middle of something so big,” Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said, referring to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Alderman Ben MacShane said he didn’t think it was the right time to start the project, with the uncertainty that the pandemic has put into the city’s finances and budget process.
The city faces revenue decreases of about $3 million in the current fiscal year, and a projected $5.5 million drop in the fiscal year that starts in July.
“I don’t know when we will have that money to spend in the future,” MacShane said.
Kuzemchak asked why the plan couldn’t be developed by city staff rather than an outside contractor.
The contractor, GreenPlay LLC, could provide a level of detail that city staff probably would not be able to, Smith said.
Alderwoman Kelly Russell suggested that the plan would help direct the city’s money to where it could best be used.
“This has been a long time coming,” Russell said.
Russell asked Smith what the ramifications could be if moving forward with the plan is delayed by six months.
The same price for the study can’t be guaranteed when the city puts it out for a new bid, he said.