Mayor Swearengin to present Granite Park Plan

FRESNO, Calif.

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The Southern California company showed the council a video of its successful recreation parks, which are located all over the country. The closest is North of Fresno in Manteca. But Council members were skeptical of what they were being presented with. Council Member Andreas Borgeas expressed the majority's concerns about the rushed, last minute nature of the Mayor's request. "We get first whiff of this in our staff report on Friday. We get an amended staff report that materially changes its predecessor and we get that at midnight last night. And council is being asked for direction. Do you think we might be moving a little fast here?"

On Tuesday, the Mayor pitched having the city spend $785-thousand to repair the fields and then turn them over to big league dreams to operate. Despite a more than $10-million budget deficit, Swearengin said the money came from an unexpected insurance settlement over a fire that destroyed an old Department of Agriculture building the Federal Government had sold to the city for just a dollar.

City council members were told under the terms of the insurance settlement the money could only be used to repair existing city facilities. But when council members demanded to know what other city property the city could spend the money on, Assistant City Manager Bruce Rudd said he would have to get them a list. Then, one of the owners of "Big League Dreams" Rick Odekirk got up an told the council members they could keep their insurance money. He said he would work on a proposal for his company to finance the project. He told Action News, "Yes, there's no question that's probably the only way its gonna work."

The council took no action on the matter, other than to encourage the Mayor and City Manager to come up with a more substantial proposal and present it to them at a later date. Such a proposal is expected within 60 days.

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