Three Nipomo parks get all $1.2 million from county fund at Compton’s request

Noah Rubenstein, 5, swings at Nipomo Community Park, which will receive $400,000 for new sport courts or a skate park.
Noah Rubenstein, 5, swings at Nipomo Community Park, which will receive $400,000 for new sport courts or a skate park. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Parks in Nipomo were allocated a lump sum of $1.2 million from San Luis Obispo County during Monday’s budget hearing, funds that will go directly toward projects that are already in the works.

Supervisor Lynn Compton pushed for her South County district to receive all of the funds remaining in the public facility fees parks budget, a fund of developer fees. Compton said repeatedly in the last few months that the South County bore the brunt of growth in the county and generated the most fees, but it hasn’t seen proportional spending on its facilities.

Here’s where the money will go:

▪  Up to $300,000 for a water line to the Dana Adobe Visitors Center. The visitors center is nearly complete but can’t open until the water line is installed.

▪  Up to $500,000 to Jack Ready Imagination Park, designed to be accessible to all children, including those with special needs. The basic infrastructure and land work is done; the next step is to install a playground. Unless a wealthy angel writes a check for $1 million, the park is most likely two years from completion.

▪  $400,000 to projects within Nipomo Community Park, including new pickleball, tennis or basketball courts, or a skate park. A public meeting will be held in the coming year to discuss community needs, and residents will have an opportunity to suggest which project should get the money to move development forward.

Nipomo park projects got a boost from the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 9, 2017, at the end of an acrimonious meeting marked by accusations of lying and shouts of “shame on you” between Supervisors Lynn Compton and

In the past, the county has maintained about $1 million in the fund so it can be used one project at a time to match grant money when opportunities arise, according to Parks and Recreation Director Nick Franco. Instead, all of the money was allocated to these Nipomo parks.

When Compton made the proposal, Chief Administrative Officer Dan Buckshi — whose last day with the county is Thursday — recommended against it, saying “I’m certain there are four other supervisors who want to supersede the process for projects in their districts.”

Compton’s motion to “jump start” the projects by allocating the money to the South County was supported by supervisors Debbie Arnold and John Peschong.

Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill voted against the proposal; They both disagree with Compton’s assessment that fees have been misallocated.

Gibson said the plan is “draining the PFF fund for parks for the political benefit of Supervisor Compton. I can’t support this. This is unbelievably outrageous.”