PASO ROBLES — After years of cohabitation with the Paso Robles Library, City Hall is taking its first fledgling steps to find a permanent home. At the Nov. 19 Paso Robles City Council meeting, City Manager Tom Frutchey gave updates on the development of the City Hall’s master plan and lighting for pickleball courts.
The facility that houses the Library was completed in 1995 with the intent that the City Hall would share the space until 2010. However, due to a “variety of economic restraints” during the Great Recession, the move was postponed indefinitely.
In May 2017, the Library created a master plan that addressed the Library and the City’s needs. In lieu of the City Hall getting its own building, the upstairs was reorganized to accommodate the City and the growing requirements of the Library.
Funds for the master plan study are already allocated in the City’s budget and not for any proposed City Hall construction. Frutchey said the time has finally come for the City to move forward with the City Hall master plan and acknowledged that the process is long overdue.
“The City Hall master plan hand not been forthcoming. We have made some progress but certainly not at the pace the Council would have wanted nor the community and the Library advocates deserve,” said Frutchey.
Currently, two firms are poised to take on the task of creating a master plan for City Hall. Frutchey said that “a full spectrum of skills” are required to ensure that both master plans of the Library and the City work together. He stated that the chosen firm will need strong public relations and organizational developmental prowess.
“We want to ensure that all the benefits of the Library master plan are compounded in a positive way with the City Hall master plan,” said Frutchey.
Frutchey willingly took the blame for the lack of progress in moving City staff out of the Library and praised Assistant City Manager Sarah Johnson-Rios for stepping up to the task for finding a home for City staff.
“I do apologize, sincerely, that progress has not been made but we now have someone on board who has truly volunteered and that’s Sarah Johnson-Rios, take over this project,” said Frutchey. He went on to say, “She wasn’t ‘volun-told’ this was her project. It’s just a measure of who she is to step up and say she’ll take the lead on this.”
Mayor Steve Martin garnered applause from the group of Library staff and supporters attending the meeting with his closing statement on the subject.
“Thank you all for your interest and your participation in making your wishes known and for being a part of the Library services and developing for the future of the library,” said Martin. “Let’s build on history and make a brighter future for this building.”
The near future of lighting pickleball games did not appear to be as bright as City Hall’s. Frutchey said that staff was still waiting for an answer for the Sherwood Park project grant application and funds are still needed to light the Centennial Park courts.
Frutchey presented an admittedly unusual request for the Council to appoint an “informal subcommittee” composed of Dwayne Brown and Larry Warner to find creative, cost-effective solutions to illuminate the courts.
“The two of them are both very knowledgeable and very skilled to come up with a solution that will use City funds wisely and come up with a solution,” Frutchey said, “and I applaud the pickleball players in our community because they have all offered to participate in the funding of the lights of the existing courts.”
Warner stepped up to the mic and gave the Council a brief update where things stood with the lighting. He stated that they have done individual research for solutions and are ready to collaborate. He said that they would present ideas at the Dec. 3 Council meeting.