At its March 5 meeting, the Kingwood Service Association (KSA) Parks Committee authorized major electrical repairs that will result in a total up-grade to the Northpark Recreation Center electrical system. The action resulted from a broken pole which resulted in lowering an electrical line across the recreation center’s roadway to a point where it was unsafe. However what had been expected to be a simple pole replacement turned quickly into an expensive upgrade to the area’s electrical distribution system because it was out of compliance with City of Houston Building Codes.
The system was built long before the City of Houston annexationof Kinwood in 1996. However, when Center Point Energy turns the power off to make the repairs, it cannot restore power until the entire affected system meets City of Houston code requirements.
Dee Price, of Sand Creek, said, “Electrical facilities at Northpark were in pretty bad shape and girls softball has been working with the electrician to get an estimate and it’s going to be very expensive. The total cost is going to be $25,665. This is replacing the entire facility which includes three telephone poles and replacing them with taller poles, which are required,” she said.
Price noted not making the upgrade would result in not having power on the other side of the road which would affect KSA facilities and equipment including restrooms and gates.
Price explained under KSA’s lease agreements with its sports associations, repairs and maintenance of required support systems including field lighting requirements, concession stands, and other needs are the responsibility of the sports associations leasing the fields. However, she explained this was more complicated because the code requirements apply to the entire recreation infrastructure which goes beyond the single light pole repair. They involve both sports association needs and the basic infrastructure requirements for KSA’s recreation land. Price proposed a solution to both the committee and to two affected sports associations to allocate the costs on 50/50 basis; KSA would cover half ($12,832.50) and the two major sports associations, Kingwood Girls Softball Association and Kingwood Adult Softball Association. They would split their half in proportional amounts determined by them.
“We recognize that one half for KSA is a lot but this is our property and we are the community organization that is responsible for it and it means a lot for our community,” Price said.
General discussion followed and John Kaskie, representing the adult league, was supportive of the idea. Kaskie indicated he had come to the meeting with a similar proposal to make to the committee. However, during the discussion, Syd Furrow of Kings Point explained he thought this appeared to him to be a total capital improvement for KSA than a repair and maintenance issue. Therefore he thought it should be paid for 100% by KSA and accounted for as a capital improvement. If that were the case, it would need to be approved by the KSA Board of Directors in their next quarterly meeting.
After much discussion, the committee decided to authorize the entire project as a KSA project in order to get it started without delay since it was a public safety issue. The committee will then go to the KSA Board of Directors with a request to account for the cost as a capital Improvement. If not fully capitalized by the board, the parks committee will work with the two sports associations to determine what portion, if any, of the amount not capitalized is the responsibility of the sports associations.
As a result, electrical service to Northpark Recreation Area has been disconnected by CenterPoint Energy until the upgrades are completed. The adult league has announced its Sunday co-ed league will continue to play its games as scheduled. However, the start of its Spring Tuesday and Friday church leagues, as well as the Wednesday co-ed league, will be delayed until the repairs are completed.
In other business, Price explained the dredging project at River Grove Park is underway and actually started March 2. She advised the committee she is hopeful the boat ramp will be open to residents by summer.