By Carolyn Barbre
Over the years the city has adopted a number of slogans including "Lindsay, the Friendly City," posted at the entry to downtown. "I believe in Lindsay" appeared a few years ago on some new businesses downtown (which have since closed). And it seems like "Look to Lindsay" was in use although we're not sure about that.
But what we are starting to hear from a lot of people who don't get downtown very often is, "Would you look at Lindsay! Just look at it!" They can't believe how much recent downtown renovations have put a new shine and sheen on the city. And this is just the beginning.
Despite still deeper cuts to local government by the state, City Manager Scot Townsend, who has continued his work as special projects director and is picking up the duties of city planner, has some awesome plans afoot for additional downtown renovations that he expects to be completed in the next 18-24 months.
At a special study session after the Lindsay City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 13. Townsend explained exactly what was on the improvement agenda, and how the city anticipated being able to afford such improvements.
"It's getting serious now. We're starting to put plans together," Townsend told the gathering which included city staff, councilmembers, the chamber of commerce and some prominent local business persons. EBM Design Group of Visalia has drawn up a master plan for the Lindsay Wellness Center. It is sort of a Garden at Versailles meets the festival of sports, the 2004 Olympics in ancient Greece.
The concept encompasses not just the hospital site, but a half mile square recreational site incorporating the golf course club house. They will be renovating the park, taking out the asphalt road and putting the majority of parking on the Sequoia Avenue side.
"We have created a kind of old historic-looking park with more open space," said architect Eric McConnaughey.
He indicated where there would be a depressed amphitheater and stage, depressed soccer fields, "a real exciting sports facility." He said dropping the soccer field down allows them to use the dirt to create a slope for natural seating. Also, the Wellness Center will be on raised ground which McConnaughey said makes the building appear more impressive, the same way Lindsay City Hall was built.
There will be a pedestrian promenade with decorative paving, where booths could be set up for outdoor events such as the Orange Blossom Festival. They could also be driven on to unload soccer players and equipment. The city also anticipates reworking the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot, to benefit that facility and provide more parking for City Park.
Townsend explained that the city only has $7 million, funding for the Wellness Center including the pool, but they went ahead and had a master plan created for what he anticipated would ultimately run $12-$15 million, so they could have it to work with.
McConnaughey continued, indicating where two tennis courts with tiered seating, two racquet ball courts, a senior day care and a diabetic clinic were part of Wellness Center plan. He showed where there would be an expanded nursery/day care center, sporting goods/gift shop, information desk, group fitness facilities, restaurant/cafe with walk-up window for outdoor food court, a new outdoor six-lane swimming pool, warm water aerobic spa and 50-foot by 35-foot wading pool around which they may have little cabanas for families. The whole thing will of course be handicap accessible.
"I really like the whole concept said Mayor Ed Murray.
"It's a beautiful plan, it really is," Mayor Pro Tem Pam Kimball agreed.
For the complete story pick up a copy of The Exeter Sun.