ORANGE COVE – Three park projects are underway in Orange Cove thanks to a variety of different state grants the city has received in the last few years.
Work is ongoing at J.O. Eaton Memorial Park, Sheridan Park and Sequoia View Community Park, according to an update provided to the Orange Cove City Council at its meeting on Nov. 8 by Dario Dominguez, assistant city manager and public works director. The construction will bring new playground equipment and recreational opportunities to Orange Cove residents within the next year.
The city received grant funding from California Proposition 68 for work on J.O. Eaton Memorial Park and Sequoia View Community Park and from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Clean California Local Grants Program for work on Sheridan Park.
J.O. Eaton Memorial Park
J.O. Eaton Memorial Park, located in downtown Orange Cove along Sixth Street, is getting new playground equipment that will be installed in the coming weeks, Dominguez said at the council meeting. Residents should be able to see the grading and drainage work that has started on the area.
According to a staff report to the city council from January 2022, Orange Cove received $184,049 in per capita funds through Proposition 68 in 2021. Proposition 68 was a bond measure passed in 2018 that created various grant programs for statewide and regional parks and recreation infrastructure.
“At the time the application was submitted it was decided that the funds would be used for the construction of a new splash pad at Eaton Park,” the January 2022 staff report said. “However, due to the outcome of the Utility User Tax Measure and since Eaton Park was not awarded additional grant funding … city council decided to use these funds for the rehabilitation of the Eaton Park playground structure.”
The city awarded the contract, totaling $210,663, for park improvements to Steve Dovali Construction Company earlier this year; the remainder of the money for the project will come from the city’s general fund. In addition to a new playground equipment set, the park will have a new swing set, shade structure and improvements to the drainage system and surface underneath the playground equipment.
As of the council meeting Nov. 8, the playground equipment had been delivered to the contractor’s job site, Dominguez said.
Sheridan Park, located northeast of Second Street and D Street in Orange Cove, received approximately $2.5 million from Caltrans for renovations and new construction.
“The community needs to know that; all the money that’s being invested in that,” Mayor Diana Guerra Silva said of the grant at the Nov. 8 council meeting.
The grant was awarded in 2022 during Cycle 1 of the Caltrans Clean California Local Grants Program, which was established in 2021 to beautify California public spaces. The full award was for both the Sheridan Park project and the effort to update the city’s two welcome signs that greet visitors along Park Boulevard.
According to the Caltrans project description, the Sheridan Park project will involve renovations to existing amenities and the construction of a playground structure, swing sets and a walking path that meets accessibility standards outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). New drinking fountains, tables, shade structures and lights will also be installed.
“Park renovations will enhance the health of the community while providing residents with a public space to practice their culture as groups or families,” the Caltrans description said.
The existing entertainment stage at the park will also feature a new mural showing the history and culture of Orange Cove as part of the project.
At the Nov. 8 council meeting, Dominguez said the park is under design and should be completed in June 2024.
“This is a Caltrans grant, so ADA is a big component of it,” Dominguez said. “Every structure will be ADA-compliant. Our engineers will get very, very creative to make sure it accommodates all disabled people.”
Sequoia View Community Park
In the 2021-2022 award year, Orange Cove received a $1.8 million grant from the Proposition 68 Statewide Park Program for the creation of a new park, which will become the Sequoia View Community Park.
According to the project description from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the park will include the construction of a baseball and soccer field, a grass volleyball court, a playground, a loop walking trail with exercise stations and a restroom and parking lot.
Dominguez said the park is under design and the city engineer has started on the topographical survey, which is the foundation for building the rest of the park.