Morse Community Park’s 34,500-square-foot recreation center is set to open in mid-2023. This facility, estimated to cost $30 million, will be built on a 4-acre lot that sat vacant at the park on Bellaterra Drive for more than a dozen years.
The Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) board on Nov. 4 approved the center’s business and operations plan.
They also reviewed its features, such as an elevated indoor track for walking and jogging on hot or cold days, fitness rooms, two gymnasiums, and retractable batting cages. There will also be 250 parking spaces.
The CSD staff noted that the center’s amenities and proposed recreation activities were influenced by opinions from more than 1,100 people who took surveys and attended community meetings last year. Project Manager Fred Bremerman mentioned that 83 people joined a meeting about the facility, despite the 100-degree weather, at Morse Community Park.
“It’s bold moves like this that helps move the district into the 21st century,” CSD Director Rod Brewer said about the recreation center.
The CSD started planning a recreation center for Morse Community Park 20 years ago when their district’s board approved plans to build 17 parks in the growing East Franklin area. Morse Community Park’s first phase was completed in 2008, but the late 2000s recession prompted the district to postpone the recreation center project, Bremerman reported. Visitors continued to see a large vacant lot that neighbored the park’s picnic area and bocce ball court.
The CSD’s parks staff returned to the recreation center’s conceptual plan last year, and they worked with the Colorado-based parks consulting firm GreenPlay LLC to create a feasibility study for the project.
Their study determined there is a high demand for a recreation center and noted that an estimated 104,600 residents live within three miles of Morse Community Park. About 5,245 single-family homes were also built in Elk Grove over the past 10 years, the CSD staff reported. They noted that more housing will be built at the nearby Laguna Ridge and Bruceville Meadows communities over the next few years.
The feasibility study found that the median income of households within three miles of Morse Community Park is $92,051, which is higher than the Sacramento County median of $63,000.
While collecting public feedback, Bremerman told the CSD board that highly requested amenities for the recreation center included a multipurpose gymnasium, a fitness center, batting cages, and a rock-climbing wall.
“It would be great to develop a facility with all of these elements, but we do not have the space or the budget for that,” he said.
Bremerman also mentioned that his staff declined to include rock-climbing walls and permanent batting cages, due to cost concerns.
The parks staff presented a conceptual plan for a two-level facility that places the elevated walking track above the fitness rooms and gymnasiums.
Plans are to have eight full-time staff members operate the recreation center and to open the facility to the public every day. On weekdays, the center will open at 5 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., according to the CSD staff report.
The facility’s $30 million construction cost will be funded by a combination of park impact fees, Quimby fees, and locally collected Landscape & Lighting assessment funds.
Nitish Sharma, the CSD’s chief administrative officer, reported that the recreation center’s annual operational cost will be an estimated $1.08 million. He said that the future facility can achieve full cost recovery from service fees charged in sports and recreation programs, as well as daily admissions and facility rentals.
After board approval, the parks staff will refine their conceptual designs for the recreation center and later place the project out to bid to contractors.
The recreation center was among three large projects that had their plans approved by the CSD board on Nov. 4 – they also accepted the business plan for Fire Station 77 on Poppy Ridge Road and the conceptual plan for a 2.5-acre park in the future Sheldon Farms North subdivision.
“While we continue to battle the immediate fiscal and service impacts (of the COVID-19 pandemic), the district must also look forward and anticipate the growing and changing needs of our diverse community,” Green told the CSD board.