After years of work, the City of Los Angeles has approved a long term lease for the Bishop City Park.
Bishop Mayor Susan Cullen reports that the LA City Council approved the lease at their meeting on Friday. This new lease is expected to give the City of Bishop greater control over park facilities and ease the ability to seek grants to improve the park.
After a year floating through the bureaucracy in Los Angeles, the 40 year Bishop Park lease had faced an uncertain future with the resignation of DWP General Manager David Nahai who had personally backed the agreement. For years, Bishop City Administrator Rick Pucci had worked with DWP staff to try to purchase the City Park from Los Angeles. According to Pucci, Nahai told him that there was no way that he could get a sale approved, but Nahai did say that he would push a long term lease through the Board of Water and Power Commissioners.
The agreed on 40 year lease gives the City of Bishop a greater say over park operations and also qualifies as long term control of the property when the City seeks grant money for improvements. It took two years for Los Angeles staff to approve the concept of a skate park in Bishop, according to Pucci. Planting and removing trees even required permission. This new lease is expected to give Bishop the flexibility to run the park without the extra layer of approval.
In a city with a slow economy, Bishop staff works to find federal and state grant money to pay for projects. City administrator Pucci has explained that a 40 year lease would help the city pursue money to build facilities in the park like a community center, basketball courts, baseball diamonds and others. Bishop had already missed a deadline to apply for $5 million in federal money for the park because the city could not show long term control over the property, according to Pucci.
The LA City Council approved the lease on Friday by a vote of 10-1.