Several Oviedo City Council members are concerned that some buildings and facilities have fallen into disrepair around the city, especially playgrounds.
During Monday night’s meeting, Mayor Megan Sladek, Councilman Keith Britton and Deputy Mayor Bob Pollack said they’d like to discuss the maintenance of city facilities at a future City Council meeting.
“I am really becoming frustrated with the way we prioritize building new things over maintaining the stuff we already have,” Sladek said.
The subject was brought up when Sladek pulled an item from the meeting’s consent agenda concerning an overhaul of the tennis courts in Riverside Park, costing $121,000.
The consent agenda is a section on a board’s agenda that lumps items together for approval, typically because the item is considered to be routine business. Sladek said she’d like to start moving more business items from the consent agenda.
“I do have some reservations about operating our city in this way,” she said. “I think we need to work on pulling these things off the consent agenda so we can have a little bit more discussion on them with our residents to see what we want to prioritize.”
Sladek said the Oviedo Cultural Center has rust oozing down the front of it and needs a paint job, which would cost $60,000. She also said there are bars on the playground at Friendship Park that are rusting through and she’s noticed rust spots on other park playgrounds that have been there for years.
“We don’t want to be hit with giant bills because we failed to maintain things,” she said.
Britton said having facilities in disrepair can be a public safety issue, leaving the impression that the city is not being vigilant. In addition to rust issues at city parks, he said there are storm drains that are crumbling.
“If we let playgrounds get rusty and let buildings fall into disrepair, that sends a message that we’re not doing our jobs,” he said.
As for the Riverside Park tennis courts, Sladek said she considered that to be a large investment, considering the facilities citywide that need repair. She also explained that the city makes $11,000 a year in court rentals from these tennis courts, meaning it would take 11 years for the city to break even on this investment.
Oviedo Recreation and Parks Director Dru Boulware said the cracks in the middle tennis court’s asphalt have progressed from surface cracks to wide cracks that can potentially cause injury, causing the city to close the court. The work was approved unanimously. Boulware said it will get a new lime rock foundation, new asphalt and new nets and is expected to be under construction for about one month.