Pershing Park upgrades delayed to make project changes

Cody Bashore and Cody Bashore

Improvements to the Pershing Park softball fields may be delayed two months because the city rejected the original plans.

Project Manager Steve Massetti said the lowest bid of $518,000 was deemed too expensive.

“We will be rejecting all bids, then redesigning the project to reduce the cost, and rebidding the project,” Massetti said.

Construction was set to start in May and finish sometime during the summer. Now, the plan is to start in July and finish in time for the softball team’s season. In the meantime, the team will find another practice field for fall.

Improvements include upgrading bullpens and batting cages, installing new backstop fencing, fixing drainage, and making the field handicapped accessible.

The city of Santa Barbara requested “unanticipated requirements,” but Massetti said the requirements were no longer an issue.

“We weren’t sure how comprehensive the requirements would be. It turned out to be not as bad as we feared,” Massetti said. “They still had some requirements, but we were able to accommodate those.”

The city’s requests were first discussed by the Facilities Committee March 22. At that meeting, Vice President of Business Services Joe Sullivan joked about the possibility of buying Pershing Park from the city.

However, he later said that while City College would love to own Pershing, the city is not interested in selling.

Nancy Rapp, Parks and Recreation Director, said Pershing Park is currently under joint use between the city, City College and Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days.

Rapp also said that according to Santa Barbara’s City Charter, for an approval of any sale of parkland, the issue must be put on a ballot and decided through a public vote.

Because of the current usage agreement and the need for a vote, Rapp said any sale would be nearly impossible.