LocationAlhambra , CA United States
Lawn bowling in Alhambra is in danger of being shut down, after bids to renovate the lawn bowling court came in at a higher cost than expected.
Alhambra’s City Council directed staff to get new bids for the court to see if the cost would come in lower. They also asked staff to look into other uses for the lawn bowling area, as well as for the $200,000 set aside for lawn bowling renovations.
Members and supporters of the Alhambra Bowls Club packed City Council Chambers in support of renovating the green. They also characterized this development as another instance of limited city support for the Alhambra Bowls Club.
The City Council said they supported lawn bowling in Alhambra, but that the cost of renovation was too high and that the money set aside could benefit a wide swath of Alhambra residents.
The Alhambra City Council also voted unanimously to approve almost $2 million in HUD funds for other Almansor Park improvements. City staff originally planned to pay for the new court using federal funds as part of that project, but Department of Housing and Urban Development rules prevented them from doing that.
HUD money is tied to activities that benefit low and moderate income residents that live in the project area. Because the Alhambra Bowls Club had members from higher income areas, the lawn bowling court was ruled ineligible, said Assistant City Manager Jessica Binnquist.
The City then set aside $200,000 in general fund money for the project, but bids came in higher than expected. The lowest bid for an artificial turf came in at over $450,000 and a bid for natural turf at almost $300,000 with an ongoing maintenance cost.
Councilmember Stephen Sham suggested that the City solicit another round of bids to see if the cost comes in closer to $200,000. Alhambra Bowls Club Vice President Sean McMorris said that city staff should come to him to find contractors who could refurbish the green for less money, while Councilmember Luis Ayala suggested that the project be scaled down so that the bids might end up being more reasonable.
Alhambra Bowls members said that lawn bowling benefits people of all ages and genders, and that with a new green, they could grow membership, especially in Alhambra. They called out City Council members for their lack of support of lawn bowling, dating back to when the City proposed replacing the lawn bowling court with a 400-space parking structure.
“It seems like we’re always on an uphill struggle,” said Frank Duarte, Alhambra Bowls Club president. “We hope that tonight the great Solomon will touch your hearts and that you would make a decision for people who all they want to do is have a sport in Alhambra.”