Friday, March 30, 2007

Parks City Settlement

Good news if all goes well, as the residents need the city and the parks district to come together for their benefit.

Tentative Elk Grove parks pact
By Loretta Kalb - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, March 30, 2007

The city of Elk Grove and the area's park district reached a tentative accord Thursday on the future of Elk Grove parks construction and management, signaling an end to years of strained relations, lawsuits and angry public protests.

Details of the tentative pact were not made available and still must be approved by the City Council and the board of the Cosumnes Community Services District. But most participants were upbeat.

"It's very favorable on both sides," CSD board member Keith Grueneberg told The Bee on Thursday. "One more meeting, maybe two, and we've got the thing (lawsuit) resolved."

The park district, formerly the Elk Grove Community Services District, filed suit in February 2005 to block the city from building parks in upscale Laguna Ridge, a 1,900-acre area under construction south of Elk Grove Boulevard.

The district was formed in the mid-1980s and has 74 parks in Elk Grove. It serves a 157-square-mile area and, in geography at least, dwarfs the 42-square-mile city.

In March 2005, the city countersued, asking a judge to affirm its right to build parks.

Steve Capps, spokesman for the park district, said the tentative pact came during a two-hour meeting Thursday morning with elected representatives from each side, their attorneys and staff members.

Any resolution promises to ease long-standing rancor between the area's two largest public entities over whether the city should build its own parks and, if it does, how the agencies might collaborate on park development, maintenance and management.

If the district board gives its thumbs up in a closed session Tuesday night, the City Council could call a special session soon after to take action on the plan, Councilwoman Sophia Scherman said.

She noted that the city voted unanimously Wednesday night to drop its countersuit against the district.

"I knew the minute we took that action, things would then start falling into place," Scherman said. "Both agencies work for the same people, the citizens of Elk Grove."