Lancaster’s 2013-2014 fiscal year budget contains a number of capital improvement projects, including an aggressive street maintenance program and multiple park infrastructure upgrades. Each of these projects has been planned with a goal of improving city services, facilities and infrastructure, and thus quality of life, while maximizing the funds allocated.

The more than $22 million allocated to capital improvements in this year’s budget is expected to create or help retain more than 240 jobs over the course of the year.

“This array of capital projects is spread throughout the entirety of Lancaster, and signifies our readiness to prepare our city for a very bright future,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Our focus continues to be on making certain that our infrastructure is of a sufficient caliber to provide the means for businesses to flourish, and for the residents of Lancaster to enjoy an even higher standard of living.”

A number of improvements are in the works for many of the city’s parks and recreational areas. For instance, Tierra Bonita Park will receive upgrades that will restore the playground, while a number of additional maintenance operations and improvements are planned for additional parks throughout Lancaster.

To keep pace with the growing usage of such facilities, additional recreational areas are also in the works.

A new mile-long hiking trail, beginning at the Trend Community Garden at 37th Street West and Avenue K and ending at the southern edge of Antelope Valley College, is also planned. The proposed “Woodlands Trail” will be completed including solar lighting fixtures and pedestrian improvements on nearby roadways for easy access to the trail.

Following the recent success of the Avenue I/SR-14 interchange improvement project, three similar projects, totaling $40 million in Measure R funds, will begin to take shape over the next five years. These projects will result in significant improvements to the SR-14 interchanges at Avenues G, K, and M. The improvements will support the ‘Corridors’ project, encouraging the use of strategic corridors and improving the city’s economic sustainability.

Once complete, the SR-14 improvements are expected to increase traffic flow to areas expected to realize a sharp upturn in development, as well as areas which have already outgrown existing infrastructure. They will also facilitate additional traffic flow into key sectors of commercial development.

The city’s continually increasing populace has also made several local street improvements necessary to more effectively utilize the potential of certain key traffic corridors.

The new budget contains construction funding for the widening of 10th Street West from Avenue L to Avenue M in order to eliminate current lane gaps and expand this primary arterial to maximize capacity. Because the volume of traffic on this main thoroughfare has ballooned in recent years, this project ensures that this highly traveled thoroughfare will be equipped, not only to deal with increased vehicular traffic flow, but also provide for pedestrian and cyclist solutions consistent with the city’s plan of Trails and Bikeways. This project also serves as a good example of the citywide gap closure effort currently under way.

Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of 15th Street East and Lancaster Boulevard, as well as a network of strategically placed speed-bumps to help calm traffic in residential areas, are also currently planned. In addition, improvements are in the works for the intersections of Avenue I and 10th Street West, and Avenue K and 30th Street West.

With regard to pedestrian safety, a number of innovations are being deployed in concert with the city’s current Safe Routes to School initiatives. New pedestrian and road improvements are scheduled to be implemented at Sierra and Mariposa elementary schools, Endeavor Middle School, and Lancaster High School, with construction scheduled to begin in the spring of 2014 at Endeavor.

The city’s pavement management program will continue to improve existing streets throughout the city and has been supplemented this year with the city’s pavement maintenance program.

Related projects, totaling a combined $6.5 million, will improve the quality of Lancaster’s roads while performing overdue improvements and maintenance where needed. The incorporation of new preservation techniques and innovative rehabilitation methods within these programs will extend the lifespan of roadways and thus reduce the need for more expensive repairs.

A number of improvements and repairs are also planned for the Lancaster Performing Arts Center (LPAC), the Museum of Art and History (MOAH), the historic Western Hotel Museum, and Cedar Avenue buildings. These projects will preserve amenities which add a vibrant dynamic to The BLVD, the arts and cultural hub of the Antelope Valley.

“Our status as a growing, productive, community depends upon our ability to objectively look at our infrastructure and amenities and make note of what practical, sensible, investments we need to make,” said Mayor Parris. “The nature of the improvements in this budget ensures that progress toward our vision of an even more productive and livable Lancaster continues for decades to come.”