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Commission OKs 5-Year Capital Projects Plan For Murrieta

The city is in the midst of identifying and prioritizing infrastructure and community enhancement projects.

Projects that include installing restrooms at Town Square Park to constructing a connector bridge from Ynez Road to Jackson Avenue were included in a five-year plan approved Wednesday by the Murrieta Planning Commission.

The Commission was tasked with determining whether the $125-million Capital Improvement Plan was consistent with the City's recently approved General Plan. Funding for the projects comes from vehicle gas taxes, developer impact fees and Measure A, as well as from grants and--if left intact pending a statewide redevelopment lawsuit--the Murrieta Redevelopment Agency.

On Tuesday, the City Council will have its say, although City Planner Cynthia Kinser said the plan follows the Council's already-stated priorities. According to Kinser, goals are to improve traffic circulation, public safety, economic development, community enhancement, pedestrian safety, community service enhancements and reduce flooding potential.

While the City Council is the ultimate deciding factor, Kinser said it was helpful for the commissioners to be aware.

City Engineer and Public Works Director Pat Thomas gave a time line for the projects, some of which are wrapping up and others expected to begin in the coming months.

An underground storm drain project is being bid out that will take care of flooding in the area behind Walmart, on Guava Street from Madison Avenue to Jefferson Avenue, according to Thomas.

"So rather than there being a wide open channel through there, this will create develop-able property in that area, and also improve the current crossings..." Thomas said.

He expects construction on the $1-million project to begin in January, but really pick up in the spring for an August 2012 completion.

The 2011-2012 plan also brings good news for teens in the community: Thomas said construction on a long-awaited teen center at California Oaks Sports Park should break ground at the beginning of the year. At 16,000-square-feet, the center will have an indoor gymnasium and activity rooms. Thomas expects the $1-million project to go out to bid in the next 30 to 60 days.

And those who use the Los Alamos and Clinton Keith roads ramps to and from Interstate 215 will start to notice landscape improvements, as Thomas expects those projects to be complete by August 2012.

Another project, which the city hopes will improve traffic flow, is the construction of a in Murrieta. Thomas said that bridge could go out to bid as early as spring 2012, with a six- to eight-month construction time.

A Whitewood Road extension from the bridge to Murrieta Hot Springs Road would tie in to that project, Thomas said, with plans to begin a specific plan alignment in the first part of 2012.

Further down the line, after the California Oaks Road/Interstate 15 interchange is complete, Thomas said ramps and a new bridge will take the place of the Los Alamos Road bridge over Interstate 15.

In addition to these major projects are also several smaller ones staff hopes will improve the quality of life for its fire, police and residents.

A new kitchen would be installed at Fire Station No. 3, and new fuel pumps at the Police Department.

The Library would get a new software system, at a cost of $15,000, that would enable residents to conduct more online Library transactions instead of driving there, according to Kinser.

And to encourage events at Town Square Park, restrooms costing $500,000 would be installed, as well as a speaker system.

The Planning Commission gave their approval of the goals with a 4-0 vote, with Commissioner Raymond Seda absent.

"I see all of the goals of the General Plan being addressed indirectly and it is a massive amount of coordination each of these projects takes," said Vice Chair Jeff Kirshberg. "I really see it all playing together."

For a full list of projects, see the attached city document.

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