By Deb Murphy

Mammoth Lakes Town Council gave the green light to the design phase for additional parking in the North Village area, completing Trails End Park and seeking grant funding for a sub-consortium of the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium at Wednesday evening’s meeting.

The 72 parking spaces, identified as Hillside Lot Phases 1 and 2, will take a small bite out of the estimated need for 200-250 parking spaces at North Village once the 220 spaces at a site on Minaret Road earmarked for development are deleted from the parking space inventory. There is an existing Negative Declaration, but staff will have to check to make sure it covers the specific project once the designs are done.

Town Council approved $25,000 for engineering designs on the town-owned property. The estimated cost of the completed project is $1,220,000. Approximately $500,000 from various sources is available for the project according Public Works Director Grady Dutton, including monies from the Road/Rehab Fund carried over from the last budget cycle. Councilmember Jo Bacon made the motion to approve but was concerned about taking money out of the road fund.

The original $400,000 estimate on completion of the Trails End Park was pared down to $145,000 and approved by Council. The grander version which included a water feature and turn around the playground was predicated on a State Parks grant that was not funded.

Park amenities, paid for with Measure R funds, include concrete around the playground, an Americans with Disabilities Act picnic table, four non-ADA picnic tables, three shade structures over the tables and a pavilion.

Most of the improvements are buy and install, according to Dutton and work on the park can begin when the snow is gone and completed by this summer.

Council also approved a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission for funding for the newly-formed Inyo/Mono Broadband Consortium which will be considered a sub-consortium of the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium which included both counties and part of Kern County.

With Kern focusing on industrial and commercial applications and Inyo/Mono more focused on tourism, the split made sense according to Councilmember John Wentworth. The Eastern Sierra Council of Governments will serve as the board for the new sub-consortium with the city of Bishop serving as the fiscal agent.

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors will address the same issue at its Tuesday meeting.

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