Send Ideas on Prewett Park Amenities

Life should always have such ‘problems.’ After the dust was settled on the recent Antioch Community Center build out at Prewett Park, 1.7 million dollars is left in the kitty. For that, thank the competitive bidding process in a moribund construction climate. $26 million was allocated but only $24 million spent. Next step, then, what to do with the windfall? For sure, we will work diligently to try and leverage the remainder with grants and matching corporate funds.

Count Antioch, by the way, as historically having hit bingo twice on Mello Roos construction. The bond payoff was originally projected to end by roughly 2026, but the first phase, the completion of Deer Valley High, Dallas Ranch and Black Diamond Middle, and five elementary schools met with both better than expected interest rates and likewise favorable state matching funds. Dallas Ranch, for example, a $29 million construction project, received 9.2 million dollars back from the state.

I am proud to say that I and the Board majority stuck to our fiscally prudent guns. It voted to use that manna from heaven returned for the schools not to do additional city projects at Prewett but, instead, to pay down the debt early, leaving a 2016 date. The question, with some, then arises as to why we don’t use this latest boon to even further accelerate the Bond payoff. Legalities and voter commitments step into the picture, though, and inhibit our overriding a mandate.

In 1989 the voters agreed to tax themselves on this special property tax.The commitment was to build the eight schools and to spend 50 million dollars on city capital improvement at Prewett. The City had a Master Plan that envisioned a water park, library, hiking trails, community center and so forth. It is the City Council decision what to build; the Mello-Roos Citizen Advisory Board merely has oversight over the allocated budget expenditures.

So where do we now sit? Unarguably, we’ve got 8 gorgeous schools, a water park and now the recent amphitheatre, city hall kiosk, community room, gymnasium, library annex, preschool classrooms, technology center, police substation, and burrowing owl habitat.

For perspective, let me share last week’s tour of a film crew from CBS-Channel 5. I am pleased to say the reception was enthusiastic. The reporter remarked on the natural beauty of the facility, which sublimely blends into the hills, and a liveliness which she expressed that she rarely sees at other community centers.

Indeed, Prewett was abuzz with activity that day and is already proving itself a valued community hub. As the real estate market starts to rebound, it is our hope that this civic touchstone will attract buyers to the area and positively affect prices.

Fact is, we have most of what was originally schemed. Granted, there is no lake or garden walking trails; nor is there, yet, the grand 30,000 square-foot library we hoped for. That, though, may be a blessing as staffing such a facility would have been a pickle given current times. As offset, we have built the facility so that potential add-on will be easy. When the state gets back on its feet they will invariably restart long deferred library construction, which, historically, they pay 2/3 costs of. Remember, we lost sponsoring by a hair’s breadth and should be next in line for funding come future go around.

Though we can’t dictate what to do with the money, the Mello-Roos Board eagerly wants to share citizen input with the City Fathers. To date, some ideas circulated include athletic turf fields, a BMX Park, doggie park, expanded library extension, electronic marquee, lazy river pool feature, and nature trails.

We intend to structure varied public feedback opportunities and welcome you to our next meeting July 11th, 7 p.m., at 510 G Street. You can also drop a note by City Hall or the Community Center or e-mail me at

The Community Center adds another crown jewel to Antioch, alongside the likes of the Black Diamond Mines, San Joaquin River, El Campanil Theatre, and the Antioch Historical Museum. The next jewel in the tiara will be an occasion to further rejoice.

Walter Ruehlig
President, Antioch Mello Roos Citizen’s Advisory Board

5 Comments to “Send Ideas on Prewett Park Amenities”

  1. Allen Payton says:

    Please participate in our poll, on the upper right side of this page. Tell your friends, too!
    Allen Payton

  2. Rosalinn Swanson says:

    The ONLY apropriate use of the 1.7 million left over after the construction of Prewett Park is the EARLY PAYMENT OF THE BONDS.

    There will be additional money in the next few years that should be used for the EARLY PAYMENT OF THE BONDS. NOTHING WOULD BENEFIT ANTIOCH MORE THAN THE EARLY PAYMENT OF THE BONDS. Any other use would be deemmed if not illegal, immoral.

    • Publisher says:

      Ms. Swanson,
      My understanding, according to what I was told by one of the Mello-Roos Board members, is that in order to use those funds to pay off the bonds early, would eat up about half of the funds. But, please check with one of them to be sure. We’ll probably be publishing a follow-up story on this in the near future.
      As for being illegal, that would not be the case, since 20% of the funds from the Mello-Roos bonds were to be spent on the entire 115 acre Prewett Park. So any capital expense at that location would be legal.
      Allen Payton

  3. Bob Driskell says:

    Antioch has about $1.7M funding remaining in the Prewett Mello-Roos fund, amazing!
    Why not use the money to ‘Install a solar photovoltaic system at the new ‘community center/water park’? Like city staff tried to do when it was under construction and a lot cheaper. The idea is to provide FREE POWER to operate all three buildings . NOT THE GENERAL FUND, Reducing the very large, monthly electricity expense for Prewett, seams to me a ‘no brainer’! These cost$ are a continuous drain on the general fund. Freeing up $$$ that could help with, oh maybe, paying for; some Building /code enforcement, going after the banks/lenders who are one of the issues causing our current property value issues, graffiti removal,sponser ‘graffiti Art’ projects or part of the cut police salaries . I’m certain the Managers could think of something that’s desperately needed.
    It’s an idea that’s time has come…again!
    The council passed on it a few years back, after spending ten$ of thousand$ on studies/design/legal/admin. expenses. A million five or so investment in a solar system could make a $ignificant difference. Of course it would be necessary to spend, tens of thousands on studies/design/legal/admin.expenses…again!
    Maybe this council and board is smarter then the last…

  4. Rosalinn Swanson says:

    There is no question that there are many good things that can be done with the $1.7 Million remaining. However, nothing would help the saleability of the many for sale properties in our area, that removing the burdeen of the Mello Roos tax. The Mello Roos Tax effectively doubles the property taxes that a medium priced house has to pay. SW Antioch has become an area of renters and it will likely not change until it becomes affordable to owner families rather than investors.

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